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DEVOTION 



TO THE 

NINE CHOIRS OF HOLY ANGELS, 

♦ 

TRANSLATED FROM THE WRENCH 

OF 

HENRI-M£RIE BOUDON, 

ARCHDEACON Of*%VREUX. * . 

' v 

EDWARD HEALY THOMPSON, M.A. 




" Nonne omnes sunt administratorii spiritus, in ministerium mieai propter 
eos qui h»r«iitatem capient salufcis ? "—Heb. U 14- 



. LONDON: 
BURNS* OATES, & CO., 

17 * 18 TORTMAN STREET, PORTMAN SQUARE; 

■ AND 63 PATERNOSTER ROW. 

DUBLIN: KELLY, 8 GRAFTON STREET. 
1869. 



PRINTED Br BALLANTYNK AND COMPANY 
EDINBURGH AND LONDON 



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ADVERTISEMENT. 



THIS translation of what may, perhaps, be called 
the most popular of <all Boudon's works, was 
undertaken with the desire of furthering the holy- 
object for which it was written, in the way which the 
venerable author specially recommended ; for one of 
the means, and, indeed, one of the chief mean^ which 
he prescribes for spreading devotion to the Holy 
Angels, is the distribution of well-selected books on 
the subject. "This means," he writes, "includes 
almost all the others, since it both gives them honour 
and teaches it" 

In the absence of any treatise on the due mode of 
honouring these blessed spirits, it is hoped that the 
present publication may be found a useful contribution 
to our devotional literature. Such a 'treatise, it is 
believed, has long been felt to a desideratum 
among English-speaking Catholios; and that Boudon's 
work was well adapted to supply the want, may be 
inferred from the fact, that several persons of piety 
and judgment were desirous of having it translated, 



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iv 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



and that more than one had actually entered on the 
task before they were aware that the present perform- 
ance was completed and ready for press. 

The popularity which this little book has attained, 
and has continued to retain, in France, is sufficient 
evidence of its intrinsic merits ; and, indeed, it would 
not be easy to produce a work.equal to it in simplicity, 
unction, and power. It is superfluous to add that 
the doctrines it contains are not the offspring of the 
writer's imagination, or his mere private opinions, but 
that they rest on the solid basis of Catholic theology, 
and are in faithful accordance with the teaching of the 
Church. 

In his zeal for the honour of God, the author has 
been led to descant at some length on the irreverence, 
indifference, and penuriousness of which men are 
guilty in regard to the Blessed Sacrament of the 
Altar. All this may appear irrelevant to the subject 
of which he is treating, but, not to mention that it 
springs naturally from the consideration that angels 
are the guardians of churches and altars, such digres- 
sions may be taken as exemplifications of his own 
habitual practice of the devotion he is recommending: 
the thought of some scandal or abuse occurs to his 
mind, as he writes, and forthwith, while himself 
prescribing remedies, he turns, as by a natural move- 
ment of piety, to the Holy Angels for sympathy and 
counsel, confers with them about the matter, and im- 
plores their assistance in correcting the evil. Anyhow, 
it was felt to be more satisfactory, and more respectful 



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ADVERTISEMENT. 



V 



to the saintly writer, to publish his work entire, with- 
out omission or abridgment. 

Again, there are some portions of the subject which 
might perhaps have been more fully treated with ad- 
vantage ; but others there are which this experienced 
master of the spiritual life may be truly said to have 
well-nigh exhausted. Such is the detailed description 
of the various solicitations, stratagems, and subtleties 
which the devils employ for the deterioration and 
destruction of souls ; a description which, at least, 
must have the effect of showing the real practical 
nature of the devotion which it is the object of the 
book to inculcate. For if the spirits of hell are 
possessed of such tremendous power and craft, and 
are allowed to exercise both one and the other in 
assaults upon mankind — and what reader of the Bible 
can doubt the fact? — of what importance, of what 
unspeakable personal importance, to every one of us, 
it is that we should secure the aid of those far 
mightier beings — mightier because they are the ser- 
vants and the friends of God — who are commissioned 
by Him to protect and assist the heirs of salvation. 

In explaining the particular office which the choir 
of the Powers fulfils in reference to men, the author 
makes an observation which applies with especial 
force to these our times: — "When we see storms 
gathering either in the Church or in the State, com- 
binations to resist those who are working for the 
glory of God, extraordinary conspiracies to defeat 
some great good which is being planned in dioceses, 



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vi 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



towns, country-districts, and provinces — then it is 
that we ought to perform frequent devotions in hon- 
our of these Powers of Heaven, that they may over- 
turn and destroy all the might and miserable plottings 
of hell." Such combinations and extraordinary con- 
spiracies we now see forming around and against the 
Church in almost every country of Europe, fostered 
and even avowedly organised by irreligious and 
infidel governments — machinations so cunningly con- 
trived and so unrelentingly pursued, that we may 
well believe that they can only have their origin in 
Satanic hate and malice. Against these "plottings 
of hell 99 God has given to His Church the protection 
of His holy angels, incomparable in their love and pity 
for men and their zeal for the Divine interests. 
Mighty, therefore, as our adversaries are, and seem- 
ingly irresistible in their fury, we may by the aid of 
these glorious spirits baffle all their wicked counsels, 
and scatter their forces like chaff before the wind. 

The pious author is especially urgent in recom- 
mending devotion, not only to the angelic hierarchies 
in the general, but to each of the nine choirs in 
particular. There is one way of practising this devo- 
tion which is becoming common in this country, but 
to which attention may here be suitably directed. 
It is that of honouring the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 
union with the nine choirs of angels by means of an 
association of worshippers leagued together for that 
holy purpose. This pious association is formed of 
different bands, each band consisting of nine adorers. 



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vii 



To each of these adorers is assigned every month a 
distinct office of devotion, to be discharged in con- 
junction with one of the nine choirs of angels. Thus 
every associate enjoys the special assistance of all the 
blessed spirits in that particular choir, and is enabled 
to worship the Sacred Heart in a more perfect way ; 
his adoration also suffers less intermission, and, in- 
deed, may be said to become perpetual, seeing that 
the heavenly adorers supply his place when either his 
necessary avocations or sleep render attention on his 
own part impossible. 

Such persons as may desire to take part in this 
holy league will find full directions for forming asso- 
ciations and regulating the exercises of the members 
in a little book published by Messrs Eichardson, and 
entitled " Method of Honouring the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, extracted from the Life of the Blessed Margaret 
Mary Alacoque." 

E. H. T 

Cheltenham, 

Michaelmas, 1869. 



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CONTENTS. 



DEDICATION TO OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS 



ADVERTISEMENT 



page iii 
xir 



DEDICATION TO MY GOOD ANGEL-GUARDIAN xxi 
EXHORTATION TO LOVE AND DEVOTION FOR THE HOLY ANGELS. 

It is the property of great things to be indescribable. The 
excellences of the angels cannot worthily be expressed. All 
possible motives urge us to love them. Men are moved 
to love by different considerations ; and all these consider- 
ations oblige us to love the angels. Every kind of good is 
to be found in their love. Their friendship is incomparable. 
Their love pursues us everywhere. Yet devotion to them 
is rare. This is owing to the absence of the interior life. 
The more exalted the angels are, the greater their love and 
their power. The author's desire to rouse men from their 
insensibilty. The world's forgetfulness of God ; and of 
God's angels. The language of the Fathers respecting 
them. The author calls upon all sorts of men to love 
all the nine choirs with a particular love. He invokes 
the blessing of God upon all who practise devotion to 



THE ADMIRABLE PERFECTIONS OF THESE SUBLIME INTELLIGENCES. 

The greatness of the angels beyond the thought of man to con- 
ceive. They are spirits pure and bright. Why they are 



them. 



page 1 



PART I. 
jffltott&eg for tfjfe Hebfltum. 



FIRST MOTIVE. 



6 




X 



CONTENTS. 



called Intelligences. How they are represented in Scrip- 
ture. Their marvellous power. Their enchanting beauty. 
Everything about them enrapturing. They are the mirrors 
of God's perfections. Called by the name of God in 
Scripture. page 19 

SECOND MOTIVE. 

THE INCOMPARABLE GOODNESS OF THESE SPIRITS OF LOVE. 

Angels the kings of heaven. They love us with every variety 
of love. Their love untiring and unchangeable. They are 
our best and oldest friends. Yet they meet with nothing 
but ingratitude and contempt from men. Hence their love 
for men is past understanding. . . . page 24 

THIRD MOTIVE. 

ALL THE HOLY ANGELS ARE ENGAGED IN THE SERVICE OF HEN. 

All the angels are ministering spirits ; even the highest and 
most exalted. Proofs of this from Scripture. Their num- 
bers exceedingly great. What gratitude we ought to feel 
to these princes of heaven, and what joy and confidence in 
their friendship page 28 

FOURTH MOTIVE. 

ALL MEN ARE ASSISTED BY THE HOLY ANGELS. 

The love of God to man has no other motive but itself. The 
smallest sin has in it something terrible and abominable : 
the angels clearly discern this, yet cease not to assist sinners. 
Heretics and unbelievers have their protecting angels ; even 
Antichrist will have a guardian-angel. No excess of malice 
and ingratitude prevents these beings of heavenly purity 
from devoting themselves to the service of men. page 31 

FIFTH MOTIVE. 

THE HOLY ANGELS DO ALL THAT IS POSSIBLE TO BE DONE FOR 
THE GOOD OF MEN. 

Angels have assumed visible forms in the service of men. They 
accompany us everywhere, despite our folly and vileness. 
The princes of Paradise are our servants and slaves. They 
watch over everything belonging to us. Scripture instances. 
The whole world is full of them. . . . page 35 



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CONTENTS, 



xi 



SIXTH MOTIVE. 

THE HOLY ANGELS ASSIST US IN TEMPORAL THINGS. 

Their considerate kindness and liberality. They have care of 
our bodily nature and sustenance ; and confer all sorts of 
benefits upon us. Instances of this from Scripture and 
the Lives of Saints. They deliver us from all kinds of 
evil, and assist us in all our distresses. Instance of the 
pillar of cloud and of fire that accompanied the people of 
Israel. page 40 



SEVENTH MOTIVE. 

THE HOLT ANGELS RENDER US GREAT SERVICES FOR ETERNITY. 

The affair of eternity the one great affair. The zeal which the 
angels show to procure men the life of grace. The care 
they take to maintain and increase it. They instil a love 
of all virtues, and especially of purity. They inspire men 
with love for Jesus and Mary. An incident in the life of 
St Dominic. They communicate light to the understand- 
ing and pious impulses to the heart. They preserve from 
sin, and deliver from it. They animate and encourage in 
labours and sufferings. page 46 



EIGHTH MOTIVE. 

THE PROTECTION OP THE HOLY ANGELS AGAINST THE DEVILS, WITH 
PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THEIR DIFFERENT TEMPTATIONS, 
WHICH ARE HERE TREATED OF. 

Life one long temptation. "We are weak, and our enemies are 
mighty. The devils cruel in their rage. Their formidable 
Btrength. Their subtle machinations. The devil ever busy 
in laying snares. Baits them cunningly. Attacks if he 
cannot seduce. Chooses well his time. Feigns to retreat. 
Amuses with a false peace. These wicked spirits mislead 
souls in the ways of grace. Turn men aside from their true 
vocation. Tempt them to frustrate God's intentions. De- 
lude them in the matter of prayer, confession, and com- 
munion. The artifices they employ in the highest paths of 
grace. They tempt to presumption, impatience, weariness, 
despair. Distort the imagination even of good people. 
Take advantage of their smallest imperfections. Pre- 



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CONTENTS. 



sent false notions of devotion. Insinuate a censorious and 
critical spirit. Raise persecutions agaiost the servants of 
God. Promote scandals and abuses. Some persons their 
special instruments. The devils find their stronghold in 
heresy. They are indefatigable in pursuit. They penetrate 
everywhere. Their assaults more violent in proportion to 
our love of God. Their number beyond conception. Our 
blindness and insensibility. The power of humility and of 
self-mistrust. We must avoid occasions of temptations ; 
and be prompt in resisting. When chastity is assailed the 
only safety is in flight. Remedies to be adopted in case of 
other interior sufferings ; scruples, or other disquietudes ; 
temptations to blasphemy, or the idea of reprobation. 
Living by faith the sure rule of the spiritual life. It is 
one of the devil's stratagems to make us be occupied with 
anything but what we ought to be about. Another is to 
give us a taste for occupations which are not suitable to our 
state. Against all the artifices of hell God has given us the 
defence of His holy angels. Instances of their protecting 
power. The devils have a great dread of them. . page 52 



THE GREAT ASSISTANCE WHICH THE HOLY ANGELS AFFORD US AT 



On the moment of death hangs the sentence of eternity. The 
thought of God's judgments terrible. The angels our 
friends when creatures abandon us. Blessed are they who 
have been devout to them during life. The angels present 
our souls before the tribunal of God. . . page 92 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS IS A MARK OF A HIGH 



That which passes away deserves only our contempt. The 
human heart is made for great things. The joys of the 
blessed in heaven are unequal. We ought to strive after 
the highest honours for the sake of the greater glory of God. 
Devotion to the angels contributes wonderfully to the per- 
fection of divine love, and therefore to the increase of 
heavenly glory. The higher the angels the more of God 
there is in them. Our devotion rarely extends beyond those 
of the lowest choir. page 96 



NINTH MOTIVE. 



THE HOUR OF DEATH, AND AFTER DEATH. 



TENTH MOTIVE. 



PREDESTINATION. 




CONTENTS. 



xiii 



ELEVENTH MOTIVE. 



THE GLORY OF THE MOST HOLT VIRGIN. 



The glory of the Blessed Mother of God a powerful motive. The 
zeal of the angels for the interests of their Queen. There- 
fore the motive of her glory is one of the most powerful in 
promoting devotion to the angels. The several titles which 
belong to her in connexion with these heavenly spirits. 
The angels are the "friends" of the spouse in the Canticles. 



God all in all to the soul that loves with a pure love. It cares 
for nothing save His sacred interests ; self-interest is an 
abomination to it. God only forms the whole occupation 
of a glorious eternity. Very few love God after a perfect 
manner. We must love the angels only in God and for 
God. Illustration taken from the spouse in the Canticles. 
Pure love a state of universal death to everything. 



page 100 



TWELFTH MOTIVE. 



GOD ONLY. 



page 103 




xiv CONTENTS. 



PART' II. 
Practice of tfjte HBe&otton. 



FIRST PRACTICE. 

TO HAVE A PARTICULAR DEVOTION TO THE ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, 
AND PRINCIPALITIES. 

The different offices of these three orders. We ought to have a 
singular devotion to our Angel-Guardians. "We ought also 
to be devout to the Guardian Angels of our friends. Among 
our friends our spiritual directors ought to hold a pro- 
minent place. We must honour also the angels of our 
benefactors, of our enemies, of the prelates of the Church, 
especially the Sovereign Pontiff, as also of temporal princes. 
The Archangels of kingdoms and provinces, of towns and 
villages, must be objects of our devotion. Churches and 
altars have their Guardian Angels. The author laments the 
profanations committed against the Blessed Sacrament; 
carelessness in giving communion ; penuriousness in pro- 
viding altar furniture. He invokes the assistance of the 
holy angels in remedying these evils, and entreats pious 
souls to seek their aid. Not only dioceses, but communities 
and confraternities have their angels. Special virtues to be 
acquired through these three orders. . . page 113 

SECOND PRACTICE. 

TO HONOUR ESPECIALLY THE POWERS, THE VIRTUES, AND THE 
DOMINATIONS. 

The different offices of these three orders. We are apt to mis- 
take our own will for the will of God. Devotion to the 
Dominations a great remedy to this disorder. We are 
easily led by our inclinations. Devotion to the Virtues our 
resource. The Virtues ought to be invoked in times of 
public calamity. To the Powers, God has given a special 
strength against the might and malice of the devils. Their 
aid to be sought to protect the Church against her enemies. 

page 126 



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XV 



THIRD PRACTICE. 



TO HAVE A PROFOUND REVERENCE AND EXTRAORDINARY LOVE FOR 
THE THRONES, CHERUBIM, AND SERAPHIM. 

The Seraphim excel in the pure love of God. Eight properties 
of this love. The special attribute of the Cherubim is light. 
The Thrones are in close vicinity to the glory of God, and 
repose upon Him. The peace which passeth understanding 
is to be sought through their ministry. The science of 
Heaven, which is the science of the Saints, is to be learned 
at the feet of Jesus Crucified through the teaching of the 
Cherubim. The' hatred which the devils bear to directors 
who inculcate this science. The Seraphim are the sacred 
ministers of divine love. The Carmelite order destined, by 
their super-excellent grace, to fill the seats of the apostate 



TO HAVE A GREAT DEVOTION TO ST MICHAEL, ST GABRIEL, ST 
RAPHAEL, AND THE FOUR OTHER ANGELS WHO ABE BEFORE 
THE THRONE OP GOD. 

St Michael, the great saint of the cause of God and of God In- 
carnate. The meaning of the title Archangel as applied to 
the highest princes of Heaven. St Gabriel negotiated the 
mystery of the Incarnation. St Raphael, the great bene- 
factor of men. Emblems of the seven angels. They will 
obtain us the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and grace to 
avoid the seven deadly sins. .... page 137 



TO HOLD INTERIOR CONVERSE WITH THE HOLT ANGELS. 

Our conversation ought to be heavenly ; therefore we ought to 
converse frequently with these spirits of Heaven. Men 
live in oblivion of the world of grace. Where there are 
numbers of people there are also numbers of angels ; yet 
we take no notice of them. Our neglect of our angel- 
guardian. We ought to converse habitually with him. We 
need never feel solitary. We may visit in spirit heathen 
and heretical lands, and converse with their angel-guardians. 
It is a laudable practice to salute the angels of those we 
meet. These practices may be unusual, but they ought to 



spirits of this choir. 



page 130 



FOURTH PRACTICE. 



FIFTH PRACTICE. 



be common. 



page 142 




xvi 



CONTENTS. 



SIXTH PRACTICE. 



TO PERFORM NOVENAS IN HONOUR OP THE NINE CHOIRS OP ANGELS. 

This practice an efficacious means for obtaining the assistance of 
Heaven in times of distress. God employs these blessed 
spirits to work wonders. Directions how to employ each 
day of the novena. Public calamities the effects of God's 
anger. This devotion a fitting preparation for the feasts of 
our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Pious exercises to l>e 
used page 151 



SEVENTH PRACTICE. 



TO TAKE CERTAIN DAYS EVERT MONTH AND EVERT WEEK FOR THE 
PURPOSE OP HONOURING MORE ESPECIALLY THE HOLT ANGELS, 
AND TO CELEBRATE THEIR FEASTS WITH ALL POSSIBLE DEVO- 
TION. 

How to dedicate every day in the week to their honour. We 
may make our birth-day a feast of our angel-guardian. 
Feasts of St Michael. Pilgrimages to his Mount in Nor- 
mandy. His apparitions. Legend of his slaying the 
dragon. St Gaudentius : invention of his body and 
miracles wrought at his tomb. Feasts of St Gabriel, St 
Raphael, and the Guardian Angels. The rosary of our 
angel-guardian. How to honour the angel-guardians of the 
Saints. page 155 



EIGHTH PRACTICE. 

TO VISIT CHURCHES AND ORATORIES DEDICATED TO GOD IN HONOUR 
OF THE HOLT ANGELS. 

Certain localities honoured by God with special favours. Pil- 
grimages approved by the Church, and highly esteemed by 
Saints. It is a pious practice to visit some chapel or altar 
dedicated to the angels. Revival of devotion to St Michael 
in the city of Rouen blessed by God. Visits of devotion 
during nine succeeding days. . . . page 165 



NINTH PRACTICE. 



TO PLACE GREAT CONFIDENCE IN THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLT 
ANGELS, AND TO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEM IN ALL OUR NECES- 
SITIES, BODILY AND SPIRITUAL. 

The angels are as impregnable bulwarks to those who trust in 
.the Lord. How great, then, ought to be our confidence. 



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The blindness of men exemplified in the conduct of Eliseus's 
servant. The little confidence they place in the protection 
of Heaven, Revelations which Saints have had of the 
presence and ministrations of angels. Our Lord employed 
their ministry page 168 

TENTH PRACTICE. 

TO LABOUR FOB THE CONVEBSION OP SOULS, AND FOR THEIR RELIEF 
IN THE FLAMES OF PUBGATOBT, IN HONOUB OF THE HOLT 
ANGELS. 

The angels do all for the glory of God ; and we ought to labour 
with them for the interests of God in souls. The extrava- 
gance of men where self is concerned ; their niggardliness 
when God's interests are at stake. The example of the 
angels a powerful motive for succouring souls, like them 
we ought to assist the souls in Purgatory. Pious practices 
for this end. Our forgetfulness of the dead. Revelations 
of the interest taken by angels in suffering souls, page 173 

ELEVENTH PRACTICE. 

TO PRACTISE SOME VIRTUE, OR ABSTAIN FROM SOME VICE, IN 
HONOUR OP THE HOLT ANGELS. 

If we desire to love the angels, we must love what they love and 
hate what they hate. Miraculous deliverance of a young 
nobleman. Humility, purity, and prayer the virtues dearest 
to the angels. Their jealousy for the Divine interests. 
Instance of this. We must be careful not to do anything 
to offend them. Plato's doctrine ok the subject, page 181 

TWELFTH PRACTICE. 

TO PROMOTE IN ALL KINDS OF WAT8 DEVOTION TO THE NINE CHOIRS 
OF HOLT ANGELS. 

Our gratitude to these heavenly spirits ought to be as compre- 
hensive as our duties towards them. The great thing is to 
have a real love. One means of honouring them is to dis- 
tribute pictures of them, and books composed in their 
honour. The rich can erect churches, or chapels, or altars 
to them. Preachers ought to instruct the people in devo- 
tion to them. Bishops and superiors can recommend it to 
pastors and flocks. Pious persons can confer together to 
promote it. page 186 



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xviii 



CONTENTS. 



CONCLUSION OP THIS LITTLE WORK BY THE PLAN OP AN ASSOCIA- 
TION IN HONOUB OF THE NINE CHOIRS OF ANGELS. 

Associations instituted for various objects. The object of this 
association would be to hasten the reign of Jesus and 
Mary. The members should make a general confession. 
Special times for communion. Daily, monthly, and yearly 
observances. Other practices of piety and virtue. The 
associates must have a great horror of sin, and espe- 
cially of impurity. In towns a solemn novena may be 
kept page 191 

A PRAYER TO THE NINE CHOIR8 OF HOLY ANGELS . . 199 

POSTSCRIPT 201 

LITANY OF THE HOLY ANGELS 202 

A PRAYER TO ALL ANGELS 204 

LITANY OF OUR HOLY ANGEL-GUARDIAN .... 205 

TRANSLATOR'S NOTES 207 




( ) 



GOD ONLY. 



To Our Lady of the Angels. 

Great Queen of Paradise, Sovereign Empress of those 
blessed spirits who enjoy an eternal repose and felicity 
inconceivable, prostrate at thy feet, where all that need 
find help, the greatest sinners a refuge, the persecuted 
an asylum, the afflicted consolation, the weak a support, 
the desolate a mighty defence ; those sacred feet, where 
the unbeliever finds faith, the heretic grace to submit 
himself to the Holy Catholic Church, the sinner con- 
version, the lukewarm fervour, the blind light, the feeble 
fortitude and strength, the just true holiness; those 
glorious feet, where the most exalted souls receive the 
brightest illuminations of heaven, learn the purest 
maxims of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our God, are in- 
structed in the most solid truths of religion, are set 
on fire with the burning flames of pure love, and are 
arrayed in a garment of perfect justice ; those dear feet 
of my good and faithful Mistress, where I would fain 
live and die — prostrate before thee, O my powerful 
Protectress, I offer and present to thee, I dedicate and 
consecrate to thee, this little work, wholly consecrated 
and devoted to the honour of the Nine Choirs of 
Angels, thy faithful subjects, and the illustrious princes 
of thy heavenly court. As thou art their amiable 
Princess, their august Empress, and glorious Lady, it 
is meet that I should dedicate to thy greatness that 



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XX TO OUB LADY OP ANGELS. 

which regards their interests and their glory; and 
more than this, O my most holy Lady, thou knowest 
that I possess nothing which is not thine : this is a 
truth which it is sweet to me to repeat and publish 
aloud on all occasions, esteeming, as I do, the title 
of thy servant an honour beyond compare, which I 
desire inviolably to preserve, and which from my whole 
heart I prefer to all that is greatest and most glorious 
upon earth. Bless, O thou most holy, this little work ; 
bless it with thy holiest benedictions, for thou hast an 
interest in it, as in a thing which belongs to thee, and 
is all thine. Obtain for all who shall read it the 
unction of grace ; make it, by the power of Jesus, thy 
beloved Son, a means of establishing and promoting 
devotion to all the Choirs of the Angels for the honour 
and glory of God Only, our beginning and our sole end 
in all things. God Only, God Only, God Only, 



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GOD ONLY. 



To my Good Angel- Guardian. 

My lord and faithful guide of my life, when I reflect 
on what thou art and what I myself am — when I think 
of my ingratitude and thy incredible goodness to me — 
my mind is, as it were, lost in an abyss. I am con- 
founded, and am able only to say, Thou art a bright 
intelligence of the Blessed Eternity, a pure spirit, a 
spirit all light and splendour, a spirit of pure love, a 
great prince of the empyrean, and one of the mighty 
kings of Paradise ; and as for me, I am but dust and ashes, 
a vile lump of clay, a blind and miserable wretch, a very 
great sinner, yea, the worst of sinners. Here in thy holy 
presence I declare — I desire to say it before all men, and 
to publish it everywhere — that I look upon myself as 
deserving, not only the last place upon earth, but the 
lowest place in hell — below all the devils — and acknow- 
ledge myself to be the vilest creature in the whole 
world. 

And yet thou deignest to love a creature such as 
this ; thou art pleased to bestow a watchful care on all 
that concerns it ; to assist it in all its needs, interior 
and exterior, to defend it against all its enemies, to 
support it against all the power of hell ; thou art 
pleased — O inconceivable thought ! — to accompany it 
continually, to be its inseparable companion ; and thou 
rejoicest in loading it with benefits, notwithstanding all 



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TO MY ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 



the contempt, infidelity, and ingratitude with which it 
hath treated thee. Next to the love of Jesus and Mary, 
who ever heard of love like this ? Surely it is a love 
unparalleled in constancy and fidelity ; a love the most 
disinterested, the tenderest, the most patient, the most 
beneficent ; love the most merciful, the most generous, 
the strongest, the most devoted. 

Great prince, why dost thou love me thus ? Whence 
is it that there is not a single moment of my life which 
is not marked by some benefit of thine ? O my soul, it 
is sweet to thee to muse upon the signal mercies for 
which thou art indebted to this dear prince of thy life. 
It is sweet to thee to remember how he hath saved thee 
from hell, to recollect the graces he hath obtained for 
thee, the unspeakable assistance he hath given thee on 
all occasions, the loving care he hath taken of all that 
regards both thy temporal and thy spiritual interests. 
O my lord, what return can I make thee for all these 
benefits ? Ah ! too clearly do I see that it is impos- 
sible for me to make any worthy acknowledgment for 
the exceeding favours thou hast shown me. Should I 
give thee thanks with every breath I draw, it were but 
a small requital. O my soul, what, then, shall we do ? 
Let us enter into the powers of the Lord,* and offer 
out of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary a worthy 
thanksgiving for so much goodness. When we have 
thought and said everything, it will not be enough ; 
should we even give our life for so beneficent a prince, 
we should not pay the debt we owe him, replenished 
as we have been through his favour with every manner 
of blessings, and delivered from every kind of evil 

But, O most amiable prince, as both words and 

# " Quoniam non cognovi litteraturam, introibo in potentias 
Domini," Pa. lxx. 15. 



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TO MY ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 



xxiii 



strength fail me, I would speak to thee through the 
Precious Heart of the Adorable Jesus and that of His 
most holy Mother. Alas ! I know well that I cannot 
comprehend the ineffable language of those Sacred 
Hearts ; but at least I desire to say all that They will 
say to thee for me. Keceive as my thanksgiving, which 
I fain would pay thee, but cannot, the thanks that 
They will offer thee. Let them be for ever the just 
reward of thy services and the rich acknowledgment of 
all thy love. My heart also pledges itself by an 
inviolable resolution to love thee truly. O my lord, 
bestow, I pray thee, thy benediction on these good 
desires, and on the sincere intention which I have to 
honour thee by all the actions of my life, in God only, 
and for God only, desiring to live as thy servant and 
the servant of all the Nine Choirs of Angels for the 
remainder of my days. Our Blessed Lady will rejoice 
that her servant should be thy servant also, as well as 
of all the other Princes of Heaven, thy companions, and 
that his whole life should be devoted to honour thee 
and them, together with herself, unceasingly, to its last 
moment, and throughout eternity, and that all his days 
here below should be like so many festivals of Para- 
dise. 

Present, dear ruler of my heart, this resolution which 
thou knowest I have long taken, together with this 
little work, to all the Three Hierarchies, to all the Nine 
Angelic Choirs — the burning Seraphim, the radiant 
Cherubim, the glorious Thrones, the mighty Domina- 
tions, the divine Virtues, the tremendous Powers, the 
sacred Principalities, the holy Archangels, and the 
loving Angels ; and say to them all which thou wilt 
know so well how to say in thy angelic fashion, and 
which I am wholly unable to express. The offering of 



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TO MY ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 



a miserable life like mine, and of this poor work, is 
most unworthy of their deserts ; but do thou supply 
my poverty and my imperfections. Coming from thy 
hand, an angelic hand, Angels cannot but receive it 
graciously. Tell them also that my heart is full of 
desire to honour and to love them in a far more 
excellent way; and that fain would it possess the 
hearts of all men to give them to all the angelic choirs, 
that they may present them without reserve to the 
Most Amiable Hearts of Jesus and Mary, where reigns, 
and ever has reigned, God Only. It is this God Only, 

0 most faithful, most constant, and most loving of my 
friends, whom I desire in all these desires : but once 
again, 0 my lord, for an end so worthy, bestow thy holy 
blessing upon all the days of my life and at the awful 
hour of death. Amen. Amen. God Only, God Only, 
God Only — Who is the end of all devotion to the most 
holy Virgin, to the Angels, and the Saints, and Whom 

1 desire to honour without ceasing in all the honours 
which I render them. 



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DEVOTION TO THE NINE CHOIRS 
OF ANGELS. 



GOD ONLY. 

Exhortation to Love and Devotion for the Holt Angels. 

The knowledge of the wise, says the Holy Spirit in 
Ecclesiasticus, is like, in its abundance, to the overflow- 
ing of waters ; 1 for even as we see fields and whole 
lands covered and submerged by the incursion of rivers 
or of the sea, so the mind of a Christian, divinely illu- 
minated by faith — wherein is to be found the know- 
ledge of the wise, and without which there is no true 
wisdom — is sometimes so surrounded with floods of 
light, that it is necessarily lost therein, by reason both of 
their abundance and their brightness. This truth is mar- 
vellously displayed in the revelation which Christianity 
makes to us of the holy angels ; and we may truly say 
that this science of love and of those admirable spirits 
is a holy and divine inundation. We have but to think 
of it seriously for a moment, and a host of reasons will 
crowd in upon the mind, overwhelming it with their 
force and multitude; it is, indeed, an abyss of love 
in which we lose ourselves. We discover so many 
1 "Scientia sapientis tanquam inundatio abundabit," xxi. 10 v 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



motives and so many reasons to love these spirits, who 
are all love, and all these motives are so touching, and 
all these reasons so urgent, that we feel altogether be- 
wildered. We desire to declare them because the zeal 
of our devotion impels us to do so, and we are unable 
to express them It is the property of great things to 
be unutterable. This illumination causes a species of 
martyrdom in the soul which loves; it is wonderful 
how its love increases its light, and how the light it re- 
ceives increases its love ; and how, by virtue of its very 
greatness, this love at last makes the soul feel as though 
it were powerless to love, because, love prompting it to 
make known the dear object of its affections, the great 
knowledge it possesses thereof takes away from it the 
power of expressing how lovely it is. It rejoices, how- 
ever, in the thought that the holy motives which dis- 
pose our hearts to love the good angels are greater than 
language can convey ; and this thought brings with it 
a sweet satisfaction; for it is much to say of these sub- 
lime intelligences, that it is not possible worthily to 
declare their excellencies. But after all, love is a fire 
which cannot be hid, sooner or later it must burst forth; 
and if it is difficult to know how to speak of devotion 
to the holy angels, it would be still more difficult to be 
silent. 

In a word, then, all possible motives, all imaginable 
reasons, urge us to love these spirits of love, and to 
such a degree, that a man must surely have neither 
mind to reflect nor heart to love, or he must confess 
that nothing can be more just than devotion to the 
holy angels, and that they ought to be loved at any 
rate. Thus I have always said, As for me, I am not 
afraid of not loving the holy angels — always supposing 
the aid of divine grace — for that seems to me impossi- 



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EXHORTATION TO IT8 PRACTICE. 



3 



ble ; but I am afraid of not loving them enough. God, 
on His part, obliges us thereto, and the creature also 
obliges us : this is, to say everything in few words. If 
you regard God, you must love the angels ; if you re- 
gard the creature, if you regard yourself, you must love 
them. Pure love commands it ; self-love requires it ; 
God Only wills it; the most holy Virgin and all the 
Saints desire it ; our own pleasure and satisfaction, our 
own interest, demand it. 

If you have given yourself to God only, you must 
give yourself to the holy angels ; if your love is mixed 
with self-interest, that again obliges you to be devout 
to them. In truth, the hearts of men are moved to 
love in very different ways. There are some, but they 
are few in number, who possess a generosity of spirit 
so divine, that, looking no longer in a manner at what 
concerns themselves, neither at temporal nor spiritual 
interests, neither at heaven nor hell, time nor eternity, 
regarding neither their own salvation nor their own 
glory, in an entire forgetfulness of self, they look to 
God alone. God alone is their only all in all things. 
God alone it is who is their motive in everything ; it is 
He alone whom they desire in life, in death, and after 
death. There are others, again, who look to God and 
love Him ; but at the same time that they have an eye 
to God and to His love, they have an eye to their own 
interests. The hearts of some are attracted by beauty, 
others are led by honour, others again are allured by 
profit. You will see some impressed by greatness, or 
captivated by extraordinary excellencies and perfec- 
tions ; others again who are won upon by constant love, 
faithful services, and particular obligations. Thus men 
who have hearts, and hearts which love, are attracted 
to love in very different ways ; as they have not the 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



same inclinations, so neither are they moved to love by 
the same considerations. He who loves profit will not 
trouble himself so much about honour, because the 
things that are most honourable are often not the most 
useful ; and so again, he who loves honour will despise 
money ; he will not set his heart upon it like the miser ; 
he must spend in order to attain that eminence to 
which glory leads him to aspire. But were there any- 
thing in the world which could equally bestow riches, 
honour, and pleasure, assuredly it would be loved greatly 
by all. 

Here, then, 0 men ! I call you to love and devotion 
for the holy angels. Every kind of good is to be found 
in their love. If you love God, you must love the 
angels ; if you love the rare perfections with which 
God has endowed creatures, you must love the angels ; 
if you love yourselves, you must love them ; if tem- 
poral things interest you, their services in this re- 
spect are beyond belief. If you love pleasure, honour, 
and profit, these blessed spirits will procure them for 
you in this life, provided it be for the glory of their 
Master or the good of your soul; but it is perfectly 
certain that they will obtain for you in eternity plea- 
sures which surpass all human thought, as well as hon- 
ours and treasures inestimable. If you desire the 
patronage of the powerful, there is nothing more power- 
ful among created beings than the angelic nature. If 
you desire the consideration of the great, ah ! they are 
the great princes of the empyrean, the princes and the 
kings of a glorious eternity. But that which is very 
sweet to think upon is that they share their crowns 
with their friends ; they make them their associates in 
power : to be a true friend of the angels is to be on the 
certain road to a kingdom, and to be well assured of 



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EXHORTATION TO ITS PRACTICE. 



5 



receiving one day the sceptre and the diadem of an 
imperishable glorj. Ah ! how unlike is their conduct 
to that of the great of this world, who set their hearts 
upon nothing so much as upon reigning alone ; while 
what these princes of love most ardently desire is to 
have companions in their empire. If your heart is 
captivated by beauty, they are pre-eminently beautiful ; 
but their beauty is not like to that earthly beauty which 
is but on the surface of the skin, and which an illness 
effaces : their loveliness is unchangeable, and remains 
for ever unchanged. But as the matter of salvation is of 
the last importance, it is in this one great business that 
we receive from them the most extraordinary assistance. 

In fine, they are Mends matchless in merit, in love, 
in constancy. Their merits, their perfections, and their ex- 
cellence no pen can describe, no mouth, however eloquent, 
can declare. Their love for men is altogether marvel- 
lous, for it comprises every kind of love. Their con- 
stancy is incredible, since they are never weary of 
loving us, whatever cause of displeasure we may give 
them. They keep untiring watch over everything 
which concerns us. They serve us as a fortress against 
the power of the devils. They are our protection and 
our defence against all our other enemies. They are 
all at the service of all men, and that for every manner 
of service, however vile and abject it may be. Great 
truths these in few words ! 

In short, if you belong to the number of those pure 
souls who act only according as the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ moves them, and who regard God only, you 
must, as we have already said, love the angels ; and 
whither could our inclinations lead us with more justice 
and holiness than towards these objects of the sweetest 
complacency of God ? If it be true that the love of 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS, 



God must be the rule of our" love, how exalted should 
be our love for the angels, who are the matchless crea- 
tions of the love of God ! Assuredly we often deceive 
ourselves in the objects of our friendship, but in loving 
what God loves, and as God wills we should love, we 
cannot possibly be deceived. Whichever way, then, 
we turn, we find ourselves constrained to have devotion 
to the holy angels. The heart of man must change 
its nature, or he cannot but love the angels ; for whither 
shall he go to escape angelic love 1 If he ascend up to 
heaven, there he will meet with those enrapturing 
splendours of a blessed eternity ; and their beauty is 
irresistible : it must conquer him, or he must cease to 
love. If he make the circuit of the earth, and seek the 
farthest limits of the world, all elements, fire, air, 
water, earth, and all that he finds therein, proclaim 
aloud the love of these sovereigns of love. The sun in 
his perpetual course, which a presiding angel guides, 
announces every day this love from one end of the 
world to the other, and that bright orb, with its illu- 
minating rays, plainly declares this truth to all creatures 
here below. The dawn which precedes the rising of 
the sun publishes from the very break of day the loving 
care of these spiritual lights, the morning stars of crea- 
tion ; and the night is never dark enough to hide their 
goodness. The light of these divine stars knows no 
setting. Stationed on the walls of the mystic Jerusalem, 
these sentinels watch by night as well as by day. If 
we go down to the very centre of the earth, we shall 
see, amidst the fires of Purgatory, the love of these 
charitable spirits burning with more intensity even 
than the purifying flames. Countries the most forsaken 
receive assistance from them. These suns of the em- 
pyrean rise upon sinners as well as on the just. There 

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EXHORTATION TO ITS PRACTICE. 



7 



lives not a pagan, not a savage, not one reasonable 
creature, however mean and wretched, bnt has an angel 
for his guardian. They are to be found in the vilest 
hovels of the most degraded beings on earth, as well as 
in the palaces of princes ; every soul experiences their 
help ; all nature is assisted by them ; in short, it may 
be truly said that on every side we behold the triumph 
of their love. 

How is it possible, then, to resist so many charms, 
so many sweet and powerful motives 1 O ye sons of 
men ! how long will you be dull of heart ? How long 
will you love everything but what you ought to love ? 
We can but weep over the insensibility and blindness 
of men. These are undoubted truths, and it is evident 
that we have every conceivable motive to love the holy 
angels. Nevertheless, devotion to them is very rare ; 
and if these spirits are very loving, they are also very 
little loved. It is true that devotion to our angel 
guardians, who generally belong to the lowest choir, 
begins to be more common; but there are few who 
practise devotion to all the other choirs of these celes- 
tial hierarchies. Few cultivate any love to the Sera- 
phim, the Cherubim, the Thrones, the Dominations, the 
Virtues, the Powers, the Principalities, and the Arch- 
angels. 

I know that this defect is to be ascribed to the 
absence of the interior life in the majority of souls. 
They are all immersed in the flesh, and nothing but the 
things of sense affect them ; there are few who, by their 
detachment from material objects, and their perfect 
disengagement of spirit, give scope to those pure eleva- 
tions of grace which raise our minds to a heavenly 
conversation, while our bodies still live here below 
upon earth, and which, by revealing to us the spiritual 

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8 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 

* 

world, fix our attention on what passes there. Look- 
ing upon our guardian angels as near* to us — and this 
is so far well ; indeed, we cannot think too much about 
them — and regarding them as ever watchful to pro- 
cure for us that which is good, and to deliver us from 
evil, we feel a little more interest about them ; and yet, 
after all, the return we make is as nothing when we 
attentively consider the extraordinary obligations we 
owe them. But why not cultivate a friendship with 
the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and all the other angels ? 
The more exalted they are, the greater is their power 
as well as their love ; and, what ought to move us still 
more, there is more of God in them, which is the one 
great motive with those souls who love God purely. 
You, who read these pages, tell me if the kings of the 
earth were willing to receive you to their private Mend- 
ship, and to place you in the number of their greatest 
favourites, what would you do ? Examine your heart 
a little upon this question, and let it be honestly ; then 
reflect that it rests solely with yourself to contract 
sweet and everlasting friendships with a countless num- 
ber of the kings of heaven; it rests solely with yourself 
to enjoy their highest favour. If you do but desire 
it — and I conjure you to reflect repeatedly on this truth 
— it will be your own fault if, through their interest, 
you do not become, like them, kings in the blessed 
abode of the empyrean. 

Truly it would be my desire to use every possible 
means, with the help of divine grace, to arouse the 
minds of men, and bring them in some measure out of 
their state of blindness on the subject of devotion to 
all the choirs of angels. It is this motive which has 
prompted me to compose this little book in their hon- 
our. I have long been pressed to do so, not only by 



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EXHOBTATION TO ITS PJRACTICK. 9 

r 

excellent persons to whom I owe deference, but much 
more by those inward solicitations which I have ex- 
perienced. For more than fourteen or fifteen years I 
have felt myself so strongly urged thereto, and with 
so many proofs that it is the All-Good God who asks 
me to undertake this little task, that I should consider 
myself to be very Junfaithf ul to grace were I to resist. 
After composing my other little works of " God Only," 
" The Love of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament," and 
" Devotion to the Most Admirable Mother of God," it 
is but just that I should write of love and devotion to 
the nine choirs of holy angels. I shall be reminded, 
perhaps, that the number of devotional books is already 
large, but a great Saint of our days, the glorious Francis 
de Sales, has long ago replied to this objection. Alas ! 
we never hear it made matter of complaint that people 
are almost always speaking of earth ; for do but take 
notice, and you will observe that almost the whole 
conversation in society turns upon the objects of sense. 
The earth, and the men who inhabit it, the pleasures 
and the profits of this world, form well-nigh the 
whole occupation of minds and hearts, and consequently 
the whole subject-matter of their conversation and 
writings. 

Just 'reflect a moment seriously how few there are in 
any single city whose conversation is of God, and of 
those precious ways which lead to the blessed fruition 
of Him, as poverty, chastity, mortification, or self- 
deniaL How many letters are written every day in all 
parts of the world ! And is it not true that almost all 
these letters have reference only to the affairs of earth ? — 
letters about lawsuits, rents, farms, money, letters to 
promote the writer's establishment in the world, to 
keep up his interest with creatures, to secure their 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



friendship and esteem, and to avoid their contempt and 
estrangement — in short, for the honour and glory of 
this miserable world : yet who complains of all these 
letters ? But O the blindness and frightful insensi- 
bility of creatures, O darkness and hardness of heart, 
worthy of tears of blood : people cry out that too 
many writings are devoted to the love, the honour, and 
the interest of God ! How abominable in all things are 
thy ways, 0 world ! I resolve never to entertain for 
thee anything but horror, and every imaginable aver- 
sion. I do not trouble myself, therefore, about what 
thou thinkest, or mayest think or say: God only, 
God only, God only — and He suffices me. Thy esteem, 
O world, and thy friendship, and all thy talk, do not 
deserve a moment's thought, unless it be to detest them. 
If we are told that all the little things we say in these 
books of ours are very worthless, we most readily agree ; 
we believe and say the same thing : but this it is that 
makes us look for greater blessings from heaven ; the 
less there is to expect from the creature, the more there 
is to be looked for from God. My very nothingness sup- 
ports me, for I know that God has drawn His greatest 
works out of nothing. 

Trusting, then, solely in Jesus, in the protection of 
His most holy Mother, and in the powerful and chari- 
table assistance of the holy angels, I dedicate this little 
work to the glory of those blessed spirits. Willingly 
would I have gone from city to city, and from village 
to village, publishing the goodness of the angels, and 
the motives which oblige us to love them. Gladly 
would I have spoken of them in the ears of all men 
had it been in my power, and cried aloud everywhere, 
both in public resorts and in all other places, " Come 
ye all, and join in love and devotion to the angels." 



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But at least, since this is not possible, I publish these 
pages, that they may supply for my silence, and reach 
where I cannot make myself heard ; so that, being my- 
self incapable of any great thing, or, to speak more 
correctly, being unable to do anything at all, I may 
at least do what I can, in the power of God's grace, to 
inspire the hearts of men with love for the angelic 
choirs. 

In old time the divine Chrysostom, reflecting on 
the misery of the world, expressed a wish that those 
words of Ecclesiastes (i. 2), " Vanity of vanities, and 
all is vanity," which so emphatically mark its nothing- 
ness, were written up in large characters in public 
places, on the gates of cities, on the doors of houses, 
everywhere. And for my part, I would wish that the 
words of that great Pope, St Leo, " Confirmate amicitias 
cum Sanctis angelis" " Make friendships with the holy 
angels," should be written up in the streets of towns 
and villages, in all our churches, in all apartments and 
private chambers; that everywhere there should be 
persons whose business it was to repeat them again and 
again ; that no preachers should ever deliver a sermon 
without proclaiming them aloud ; and that they should 
be constantly introduced into private conversation. 

Do what we will, we shall never worthily acquit our- 
selves of our duties towards these amiable spirits. 
Hence it is that the holy Fathers omit nothing which 
may lead us to honour and love them. Sometimes 
tbey press us to cultivate their holy love, and form 
sweet friendships with them, familiarising ourselves 
with their company ; sometimes they exhort us to pay 
our homage to them, and to honour them to the best 
of our ability. Sometimes they remind us not to forget 
their presence, to be careful to respect them, to think of 

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12 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



them, and hold converse with them ; and in other places, 
they charge us to be exceedingly thankful to them for 
their kindness, and never let the memory of it be 
effaced from our minds : in short, they use all their 
endeavours to excite us to practise so fitting a devo- 
tion. 

The heavenly St Denis, who has written so lovingly 
of them, delights in assuming the title of Philangelus, 
that is to say, the Friend of the Angels. This man of 
God, contemporary of the Apostles, and disciple of the 
great St Paul, full of the apostolic spirit, and of the 
love of the angels, who are the Apostles of Heaven, 
and coadjutors of apostolic men on earth, in order to 
demonstrate to us and to all posterity his zeal for these 
admirable spirits, publicly takes the appellation of their 
friend, and inscribes it in his writings, that all the world 
may know it. 

Let each man desire what he will ; for my part, if 
there be in the world an enviable title, to my taste it is 
that of Philangelus, the Friend of Angels. O title far 
surpassing that of monarch or sovereign! O quality 
more precious than gold, than topazes, and all the most 
splendid jewels this world affords ! Is there anything 
one ought not willingly to do and to suffer to acquire 
so glorious an attribute ? O spirits worthy of all love ! 
my highest ambition shall ever be to attain the exalted 
honour of your holy friendship. I love you, and desire 
to love you ; but make me to love you more. I have 
nothing to offer more valuable than my heart : I give 
it you, then, and place it in your hands, that you may 
direct it, and mould it to pure love ; that it may love 
in unison with you, and may love only what you love, 
and as you love — God only. I have nothing more pre- 
cious than my life : I dedicate it to your glory ; and I 



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should reckon myself too happy were I to lose it for 
your honour in honour of God ; at least, I have dedi- 
cated every moment of it to God for your glory. I 
desire to praise you unceasingly, in life, in death, and 
after death. I possess nothing larger than my desires. 
Ah ! they are all yours, and I could wish that the whole 
earth might echo to your praises ; that everywhere there 
were temples, and in all these temples altars consecrated 
to you; everywhere congregations, processions estab- 
lished, sermons, preachers employed, pens devoted to 
your service ; that everywhere your pictures were dis- 
played; everywhere festivals celebrated, offices composed 
in your honour ; holy fraternities of persons whose pro- 
fession it was to make you known, to remind men of 
your sweet presence, and lead them to salute you, and 
whose great business it should be speak of you, and to 
call upon all the world to love you, and to love God 
only in you, who is the Great All, who alone is to be 
honoured in all things. 

But since such things surpass my power, I will at 
least do all I can ; at least I will declare in these pages 
that you are all-amiable, all-loving, and, alas ! very little 
loved. I will cry aloud to all who read them, " Come 
ye and join in love and devotion to the angels." O ye 
men, love the angels ; they are friends pre-eminently 
faithful, powerful advocates and protectors, most wise 
masters, fathers, brothers, all filled with love for us. 
They are the patrons, protectors, and advocates of all 
men without distinction, of every state and of every 
class. Love the angels, ye apostolic men ; they are the 
heavenly missionaries of Paradise. Love the angels, ye 
preachers and doctors, for they are the adepts in hea- 
venly science, and in the ravishing eloquence of eter- 



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H DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



nity. Love the angels, ye who axe the priests of the 
Lord ; it is by their hands that the Sacrifice is offered 
to the Divine Majesty. Love the angels, ye who dwell 
in the retirement of cloisters, or in the seclusion of 
solitude ; these admirable spirits are always retired in 
God, and always behold His face. Love the angels, ye 
who appear in public, who live amidst the world; these 
pure intelligences abide there with you. Love the 
angels, ye married persons ; the example of the holy 
Archangel Baphael, who conducted Tobias, admirably 
displays the care they take of your state. Love the 
angels, ye widows and orphans ; for none may be com- 
pared to them in the charitable help they give to those 
who need. Love the angels, O virgins — yes, I repeat it, 
love the angels with fervour, O ye virgins ; they are the 
great friends of virginity ; nay, they are its admirers, 
beholding this precious treasure in fragile vessels, and 
creatures so weak living on earth as they themselves live 
in heaven. Love the angels, O ye just ; they are the 
guides of holiness. Love the angels, O ye sinners ; 
they are for you a sure refuge. Love the angels, ye who 
are afflicted, who are poor and in misery ; they are the 
consolation and resource of all who sorrow. Love the 
angels, ye rich and powerful, ye great ones of this world; 
these are the heavenly luminaries who will enlighten 
you to see that all which passes is contemptible, and 
that you should sigh only after a blessed eternity. Yes, 
O men ! love the Seraphim; they are the princes of pure 
love. Love the Cherubim ; they are the great doctors 
of the science of the saints. Love the Thrones ; they 
are the patrons of true repose of soul and tranquil peace 
of heart. Love the Dominations ; they will teach you 
to become masters of yourselves and of all things, raising 



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15 



yon above all created beings by an intimate union with 
the Creator. Love the Virtues ; they are the masters of 
the ways of holy perfection. Love the Powers ; they 
are your defenders against the malice, the rage, and the 
power of the devils. Love the Principalities ; it is they 
who watch so diligently over the welfare of kingdoms, 
states, and those who govern. Love the Archangels ; 
for they are zealous for the common good, and we re- 
ceive at their hands benefits without number in pro- 
vinces, towns, and villages, and in every part of the 
world. Love, in fine, the Angels of the last choir; they 
are stars whose celestial influences we feel the more often 
because they are nearer to us, watching over the good 
of each one of us in particular with an ineffable love 
and care. Henceforth let our love be as of fire for 
these pure flames of love empyreal, and let us never 
cease from loving those who are never weary of doing us 
good, and loading us with every favour. 

Bless, 0 my God ! all who are devout to Thy holy 
angels, and all who, on reading these pages, shall ear- 
nestly resolve to practise this devotion. Bless them 
with the blessing of the just, directing them along those 
straight paths which lead to Thee, and withdrawing 
them from the crooked paths of sinners. Bless them 
with the blessing of Abraham, giving them the spirit 
of sacrifice, of self-immolation , and oblation. Bless them 
with the blessing of Isaac, teaching them obedience and 
submission to Thy divine will Bless them with the bless- 
ing of Jacob, manifesting to them the mysteries of holy 
religion. Bless them with the blessing of the elect, so 
that they may hear those sweet words, " Come, ye 
blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world." Bless them 



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16 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



with the blessing of these heavenly spirits, joining them 
to their society, and giving them to partake of their 
happiness. Qreat and august Queen of Paradise ! bless 
them with thy loving protection, so that, all being united 
in one and the same great object, the glory of God only, 
God only may live and reign in all our hearts to ever- 
lasting ages. 



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PART I. 
MOTIVES FOE THIS DEVOTION. 



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FIKST MOTIVE. 



The Admirable Perfections of these Sublime Intelligences. 

The excellences of the angels are like a fathomless 
and, as it were, shoreless ocean. It is, as I have said, 
an abyss in which the mind necessarily loses itself. 
Souls duly enlightened know well that what they say is 
far below what they think of them, and that what they 
think is far below the reality ; for true indeed it is that 
their greatness is as far beyond the thought of man to 
conceive as it is beyond his words to express. The 
angelic nature is a whole world of perfections in itself ; 
and when to this is superadded the state of grace and 
glory, it is beyond measure admirable. It is a certain 
truth that the nature of men, however great its perfec- 
tion, is inferior to that of angels, for this we learn from 
Holy Scripture ; but a theologian of weight 1 has taught, 
what, however, is not the received opinion, that the 
lowest of the angels in the state of glory is above the 
highest of the saints ; and it is in this sense that he 
explains those words of Holy Writ (Matt, xi 11), which 
say that he who is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven 
is greater than John the Baptist. But besides the in- 
comparable Mother of God, who without doubt is 
exalted above all the choirs of angels, he excepted the 
glorious St Joseph, on account of his belonging to an 
i St Ambrose. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



order differing from that of all other saints, because of 
the extraordinary office which he filled in connexion 
with the hypostatic union, being honoured with the title 
of husband of the Mother of God, reputed father of the 
God-Man, and, in a manner, saviour of the Saviour. 

This, at least, we know, that the angels are spiritual 
substances, incorruptible by nature, perfectly separate 
from matter, and entirely free from all those infirmities 
which compass us on every side. They are spirits all 
brightness ; they are acquainted with all the secrets of 
nature ; and all that has remained most hidden from 
the greatest minds that have ever existed is intimately 
known to them. They know things without labour, 
and countless things at the same time, and in an instant 
of time, unaccompanied with doubt or obscurity. They 
do not make use of discourse like men, nor comprehend 
the things they know after our manner — that is, by 
reasoning from one thing to another ; they understand 
everything at a glance, and this is why they are styled 
emphatically Intelligences. Scripture describes them as 
habited in a garment of brightness and of fire, 1 to in- 
dicate to us the spiritual light with which they are 
endowed; it clothes them, in the Apocalypse (i. 13—16), 
with a robe like to that of the high priests of old, to 
show us that the most sacred mysteries of religion are 
revealed to them. In fine, it represents them as en- 
veloped with clouds, 2 to teach us that their brilliancy is 
too intense for our minds to endure — we can behold it 
only under a veil — the eye of man has not strength 
to gaze upon it. The wisest men upon earth are but 
children in comparison with these pure intelligences. 

Their power also is inconceivable. One single angel 

1 E.g., Ezek. i. 13, 14 ; Matt, xxviii. 3. 

2 E.g., Ezek. i 4. 



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could defeat millions of men set in battle array, yea, all 
the men in the world united together ; he could work 
marvellous changes in the elements, in cities, provinces, 
and kingdoms. The angels can make the winds to 
blow, rain to fall, thunder to roar; they can raise 
tempests, cause earthquakes, stop the course of rivers, 
bestow abundance, or produce a famine, cure all 
maladies, or inflict incurable disorders, fashion them- 
selves bodies, and perform a thousand other wonders, 
the causes of which men know not ; and all this they 
can effect almost in a moment of time. They are repre- 
sented with wings, 1 to denote their swiftness, which 
exceeds that of the heavens and of the winds ; in an 
instant they pass from one end of the world to another, 
thus making themselves ubiquitous, as Tertullian says. 

But their loveliness is perfectly enchanting; that 
which is fairest upon earth being mere deformity com- 
pared with their celestial beauty. The angels are all 
beauty ; the least beautiful among them surpassing in 
loveliness all the united charms of earth. The mind is 
utterly lost in the thought of the infinite assemblage of 
beauty composing these angelic choirs ; for if the angels 
differ from one another in kind, and consequently 
each has his own peculiar beauty, and if the lowest 
possesses more than all earthly creatures, and if, on 
the other hand, their number is, in a manner, infinite, 
a multitude which no man can number, and which is 
known only to God — O my God, what countless 
beauties does the Heavenly Sion contain ! But O how 
dazzling must be the splendour of the most exalted 
spirits of this glorious city ! And here St Anselm's 
words are often quoted, who, to give us some idea of 
these truths by means of sensible objects, says, that 
1 E.g., Isa. vi. 2 ; Ezek. i. 8, &c. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



were God to put an angel in the place of the sun, and 
surround him with as many suns as there are stars, and 
were He to permit this blessed spirit to transfuse into 
the form he has assumed some rays of his own bright- 
ness, he would eclipse all the splendour of these suns, 
and render them invisible to our eyes. A learned man 
has opined that the sun itself, which enlightens this 
world, has no other light but that which it receives 
from the angel who moves and guides it ; for, says he, 
though the angel does not inform this luminary, and 
acts towards it only as an assistant . form, it is very 
possible that he imparts to it all its brilliancy, even as 
the blood in the human frame, in the opinion of those 
who do not believe it to be animated, nevertheless 
receives from the soul a certain lustre, which it loses 
when the soul is separated from the body. 

In a word, everything about these amiable spirits is 
enrapturing. An angel appeared to St Francis, and 
for his entertainment played upon a musical instrument 
He touched it but once, yet so melodiously, that the 
saint afterwards declared, that had he continued he 
must have died of such an excess of sweetness. That 
miraculous bird, whose song once so enchanted a 
religious who served God in the retirement of a desert, 
that he passed several centuries in that solitude without 
weariness, and with so much pleasure that he imagined 
he had spent only a quarter of an hour, God preserving 
him miraculously all this time, was no doubt an angel 
who took the form of a bird. Father Cornelius a 
Lapide asserts that, being desirous to examine into the 
truth of this miracle, he made a journey on purpose to 
the spot where it was said to have occurred, and to the 
monastery to which the afore-named religious belonged, 
and that, after having made a most careful examination 



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into the matter, he had found very satisfactory evidence 
of its truth.* 

This is also one reason why the angels were created 
in the empyreal heaven ; it was most fitting that such 
noble and perfect creatures should take their origin in 
a heaven which is the abode of all enjoyment and 
blessedness. All those precious stones which were 
shown of old to the Prophet Ezekiel (i. 26, 27), typified 
to us the various perfections of the angels. The holy 
Fathers outdo themselves when it is question of be- 
stowing titles and praises on them. To express all in 
one word, they may be called pure and lustrous mirrors 
reflecting God : they are at once His brilliant mirrors 
and His most lively images ; their excellence is indeed 
without shade of imperfection. Alas! it is not thus 
with the little perfection which is to be seen here below 
on earth, and which is to be found only with a wretched 
alloy of faults and weaknesses. The nobility of the angels 
is unsullied by meanness, their knowledge is without 
ignorance, their light without darkness, their power 
without weakness, their beauty without the least 
blemish, their love without taint, their will without 
inconstancy, their peace without disturbance, their 
activity without intermission, their operation incessant 
and without toil, their designs without anxiety, their 
happiness without fear, their blessedness consummate in 
every respect without the least admixture of evil. 

It is related in the Book of Judges (xiii. 18), that 
Manue having asked an angel who appeared to him 
what was his name, he replied that his name was 
"Wonderful." In the 16th chapter of Genesis, Agar, 
as Scripture tells us (ver. 13), called the name of the 
Lord who spake to her, " Thou the God who hast seen 
* See Note A. 

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24 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

me." Now it was an angel who at that time spake to 
her, but this title is ascribed to angels, because they 
represent God so admirably. Hence in the same book 
of Genesis, chapter 31st, Jacob says (ver. 30) that he 
has seen God face to face, when speaking of the angel 
who had appeared to him. With all these perfections, 
can men refuse the angels the love which is due to 
them — men who are so disposed to love what is beauti- 
ful and noble and perfect ? This truth well deserves 
to be pondered long and deeply, to the glory of God, 
the Author of all these excellences and all these per- 
fections. 



SECOND MOTIVE. 

The Incomparable Goodness of these Spirits of Love. 

" Nothing so touches a good heart as to see itself be- 
loved," says the holy Bishop of Geneva, in his book on 
" The Love of God ; " but the motives for a return of 
love are much increased when the person who loves us 
is one of exalted character. If this be so, we must 
either love the angels or give up loving. We have but 
just now seen that their power, their knowledge, their 
beauty, are beyond compare ; add to this, that they are 
great princes, yea, kings, who reign with the Sovereign 
King of Eternity over an empire which knows no end 
Consider, moreover, that these amiable princes of the 
blessed Paradise not only love us, but love us with 
every different kind of love, and this to such a degree, 
that it would appear as if they had resolved that none 
should surpass them in love. 

It may be truly said that they are the passionate 



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THEIR INCOMPARABLE LOVE FOR MEN. 25 

lovers of men. They love us, then, these lords of the 
empyrean, with a father's love: being always anxious 
for our advancement, and the promotion of our welfare ; 
always filled with the desire of procuring us some benefit ; 
never ceasing to do us good ; looking upon our interests 
as their own ; labouring with inexpressible care to obtain 
for us a large share in the high honours of a glorious eter- 
nity ; and neglecting nothing to secure to us the inherit- 
ance of glory which has been purchased for us by the 
mercies of the Adorable Jesus. They love us with a 
mother's love : for it is written (Ps. xc. 12) that they 
shall " bear " us " in their hands." Like a good mother, 
who folds her child to her bosom, they carry us in their 
arms ; they watch over both our bodies and our souls ; 
they keep their eyes always fixed upon us, and caress 
us with all the tenderness which a holy love inspires. 
They love us with a brother's love : for they look upon 
ns as their younger brethren ; and, what is indeed most 
wonderful and rare, worthier of heaven than of earth, 
not only do our holy guardians feel no displeasure at 
seeing us their equals in glory, but they are delighted 
that it should be so, and do all they can that they may 
behold us more glorious in Paradise than they are them- 
selves. They love us with the love of a passionate 
lover : always thinking of us, always striving to win 
our love ; never losing sight of us day or night ; aban- 
doning even the delightful abode of heaven in order 
to abide with us continually on earth; and desiring 
and seeking our good more than their own. They love 
us with the love of a vigilant pastor : for is it not of 
these blessed spirits that it may be said that " they who 
keep Israel neither slumber nor sleep " ? 1 They love 
us with the love of a kind physician : for they dress 
1 Pa. cxz. 4. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



our wounds, heal our maladies, restore us to health, 
and all with an incomparable gentleness. They love 
us with the love of a pleader and an advocate : devot- 
ing themselves with goodness unspeakable to all our 
affairs, both heavenly and earthly, but especially to the 
great affair of eternity. They love us with the love of 
a faithful guide : conducting us with marvellous love 
through all the painful ways of this life, and preserving 
us from the precipices which surround us on all sides. 
They love us with the love of a good master : keeping 
us under their protection, and enabling us to earn 
rewards exceeding beyond all proportion the small 
services we render them. They love us with the love 
of a wise and patient doctor : teaching us the science 
of the saints and the high doctrine of Jesus Christ. 
They love us with the love of a good king : defending 
us from our enemies, causing us to live in peace, and 
keeping us in all security. In a word, they love us as 
much as it is possible for them to love us. 

Behold, then, how our hearts are constrained to love, 
seeing themselves beloved in such various ways by 
creatures so noble, so beautiful, so powerful, so perfect, 
— these mighty kings of Paradise ! But when did they 
begin to love us? From the very moment that we 
came into being. And how long has their friendship 
lasted ? Without intermission, during every single 
instant of our life. Will it be enduring ? It will en- 
dure to our last breath, and, if we will, even after 
death, for ever, for ever, as long as God is God, through- 
out a long and never-ending eternity. Do they love us 
in all things ? In all things whatsoever which concern 
our true happiness. And is there no exception ? None 
whatever. And what do they do to advance our good ? 
They do all they can ; no employment seems too vile or 



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THEIR INCOMPARABLE LOVE FOR MEN. 27 

abject for thenl when it is question* of serving us. In 
what places do they labour for our good? In every 
place, country, and land, wherever we go, in heaven 
itself, and under the earth, in the midst of the fires and 
flames of Purgatory. Does not our ingratitude repel 
them ? No ; they remain unchangeably attached to our 
service, without disgust, without weariness, whatever 
cause we may give them to the contrary. 

It is true, then, that the holy angels are our oldest 
friends, that their love is the most constant, the most 
faithful, the most sweet, the most patient, the most 
universal that can be. All therein is great, all is en- 
chanting, all is admirable, and, let us add, all is disin- 
terested : for what do they receive from men ? Ingra- 
titude beyond conception, insolent contempt, shameful 
neglect. The heathen know them not ; heretics know 
them without paying them the respect which is their 
due ; the greater part of the poor country-people know 
as little of them as the heathen. Often they who 
know most about them neglect them most ; they who 
pass for loving them think of them at times, and on 
occasions honour them ; and here we see the whole ex- 
tent of the love of men for these spirits, who are ever 
near them, and ever thinking of them. These truths, 
seriously meditated upon from time to time, will fill the 
soul with profound amazement, as it compares the ex- 
ceeding love displayed by the angels towards men with 
the exceeding ingratitude and coldness evinced by men 
towards the angels. Once again, then, let us ask, 
Whence is it, O heavenly spirits, that ye love these 
men, and wherefore do ye desire their love? Here 
every mind must stand confounded. Let him who can 
fathom this mystery ; for my part, I confess that the 
love of the angels is past all understanding. Fain 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



would I go through the earth exclaiming against the 
ingratitude and the insensibility of the human heart. 
Truly it must be confessed that herein the ingratitude 
of man is displayed in all its blackness, and the hard- 
ness of his heart in its most revolting form. O men, 
rouse yourselves from this unhappy state, and surrender 
yourselves at length to all these attractions of love. 
Love the angels, love the God of the angels ; for it is 
in Him alone that all is to be loved that is worthy of 
love. 



THIRD MOTIVE. 

All the Holy Angels are Engaged in the Service of Men. 

I confess that as I proceed to write of the love of 
the angels, my heart feels itself becoming gradually 
more and more softened ; and if they are fires and 
flames of fire, as Scripture teaches us (Ps. ciii. 4 ; coinp. 
Heb. i. 7), I marvel not that my heart should be all 
dissolved, to express myself in the Psalmist's words 
(xxi. 15), like wax that melts at the fire. O amiable 
spirits ! suffer my poor soul to pour itself forth in love : 
either let me die, or let me love you to my heart's con- 
tent. Let me with you love with pure love Jesus, the 
King, and Mary, the Queen of holy love. Either I 
must cease to love, or I must live only by this pure 
love. 

But how fitted are the motives, which here we can but 
merely glance at, to dispose us to this love ! We 
have said that the angels love men with every variety of 
love, and that they love them with an inviolable fidelity 
and a matchless patience; but how many of these 



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amiable princes are engaged in their service % Some 
few, perhaps, from among their heavenly bands ? Let 
11s listen to the divine Paul in answer to our question, 
who says (Heb. L 14) that all are ministering spirits, 
sent for our salvation. St Augustine teaches that all 
the angels watch over us, because we constitute with 
them one only City of God, of which one portion, com- 
posed of men, yet wayfarers on earth, is assisted by 
the other portion, the angels, who live in the blessed 
fruition of their true end. When we say that the 
angels watch over the salvation of men, says the 
eloquent St John Chrysostom, we must not be sup- 
posed to speak only of the angels of the lowest choirs, 
but even of the most exalted and the highest. 

It may, indeed, be asked whether the angels of the 
first choirs descend here below to assist men. Some 
doctors are of opinion that they do not, but it is diffi- 
cult for them to explain away the testimony of Scripture 
to the contrary. St Raphael, who acted as guide to 
the young Tobias, testified (Tob. xii 15) that he was 
" one of the seven princes who stand before the Lord." 
Cherubim appeared to the Prophet Ezekiel (chap, x.) ; 
a seraph purified the lips of Isaiah (vi. 2-7) ; we read 
also in Genesis (iii. 24), that God has committed to a 
cherub the guardianship of the earthly Paradise ; thus 
it is evident that the angels even of the first choirs 
are sent here below for the guidance of men. The lives 
of the Saints teach us this same truth. It was a seraph 
who imprinted the wounds of our merciful Saviour on 
the body of St Francis ; it was a seraph also who 
wounded with a dart of love the heart of the seraphic 
Teresa. But this is not the essential point ; it suffices 
that it is an undoubted truth that all, without excep- 
tion, take care of us in one way or another. All the 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



nine choirs of angels are engaged in the service of 
men. 

Now the number of the angels is so exceedingly great 
that the holy man Job (xxv. 3) declares them to be in- 
numerable. There are learned men who maintain that 
they surpass in number all the stars of heaven, all the 
birds of the air, all the drops of water, all the blades of 
grass, all the atoms, in fine, which compose this visible 
creation. St Gregory of Nyssa says that there are in- 
finite millions of them ; that is to say, to the mind of 
man, their multitude is as if infinite, and is known to 
God alone. He alone, says the great St Denis, knows 
their number. 

What strong and lively emotions of love do our poor 
hearts experience, and how are they filled with consola- 
tion, when they have well penetrated these truths ! 
Keader, were you to be told that the king had despatched 
one of the first princes of his court on purpose to attend 
upon you, and to render you every possible service, 
what feelings would be yours, what sentiments of grati- 
tude ! Could you contain your joy ? and what would 
be your amazement, what the surprise, the delight, of 
all your relatives and friends ! But history records 
nothing of the kind ; earth can display nothing so gra- 
cious ; such favours are reserved for Heaven : it belongs 
only to the God of Paradise to perform these prodigies 
of love. 0 my soul ! 0 my soul ! have we ever seriously 
thought of this ? Hast thou ever well considered that 
all the princes of the court of the King of kings interest 
themselves in thy affairs, are set to guard thee, and 
watch with goodness ineffable over everything which 
concerns thee ? It is true that one among these princes 
is thy more immediate guardian, nevertheless Scripture 
informs us that " all are ministering spirits, sent for 



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them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation." 
0 the love of God who has sent them ! O the love 
of these princes who are sent! What consolation to 
our poor souls ! Why after this should they be sad ? 
Why should they be ever troubled ? The presence of a 
single one of these princes ought to be sufficient to 
remove from us all fear, and raise our courage, how- 
ever much we may be cast down ; and behold millions, 
thousands of millions, countless millions — to use the 
words of the Fathers, numbers without number ! O 
my heart ! consider that if one such powerful protector 
is sufficient to insure thy safety, the friendship of all 
these illustrious lords of the empyrean may well serve 
to fill and occupy thee. Ah, what time, or what room 
shall we have remaining for earth % Assuredly there 
are too many sweet friendships to contract in Heaven 
with the angels for us to amuse ourselves here below 
with men ; and how pure and holy are these friendships, 
seeing that they are formed with pure spirits, in whom 
we find God only ! 



FOURTH MOTIVE. 

All Men abe Assisted bt the Holy Angels. 

We need seek no other reason for the love of God but 
that love itself, as our Lord revealed to the Venerable 
Mother Magdalen of St Joseph, a Carmelite nun of 
eminent sanctity ; for why does God thus love men ? 
Let it be published among the nations, says the devout 
St Bernard, and let them confess that the Lord has 
resolved to deal magnificently with them. O Lord! 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



what is man, that Thou shouldst deign to make Thy- 
self known to him, and to bestow upon him the love of 
Thy heart ? Thou lovest him ; Thou takest care of 
him ; Thou givest to him Thine Only Son ; Thou 
sendest to him Thy Holy Spirit; and that there may 
remain nothing in Heaven which is not occupied with his 
welfare, Thou deputest the blessed spirits to watch over 
him, to minister to him, and to instruct him. Behold, 
then, the angel, who is a great king, full of perfections, 
beauty, and glory, devoted to the service of man, who 
is one mass of imperfections, foulness, and wretched- 
ness ; of man who is nothing but a vile insect, a worm 
of the earth, a heap of corruption, the food of worms, a 
little clay and mud, a leaf which the wind carries away. 
And, what is still more surprising, the angel is engaged 
in the service of man, a sinner ! 

The Divine Word teaches us (1 John i. 8), " that if we 
say that we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves, and 
the truth is not in us." The holiest fall into deplorable 
venial sins, though it be not with full advertence ; and 
venial sin is an offence against Qod : this is why souls 
who have truly given themselves to God falTinto them 
only by surprise ; they would rather suffer all imagin- 
able torments in this life, and even in the next, than 
commit one such sin with their eyes open, that is, with 
full knowledge and deliberate purpose. Hell, said the 
devout St Anselm, would be to me more endurable than 
the very smallest sin. They who love God will well 
understand this truth; the rest will scarcely compre- 
hend it. But more than this : not only venial sin, but 
the least shadow of venial sin, according to the opinion 
of the loving and divine Catherine of Genoa, would be 
capable of crushing to atoms that man who should 
thoroughly understand its true nature, had he even a 



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body as hard as diamond, and this at the slightest 
glimpse which might be given him of it. So true it is, 
that the smallest offence against God has in it some- 
thing fearful ; no language can express how horrible a 
thing is sin. Oh, if men did but know what they do 
when they relapse into it ! Now the angels, these spirits 
who are all light, discern the abominableness of it far 
more clearly than do the most enlightened souls, and 
yet they cease not to assist, with incredible kindness, 
those who are infected with this dreadful disease. 

Soul ! whoever you may be who read these truths, 
pause a while, I entreat you, to reflect upon them It 
is a wonderful thing, this goodness of the angels, who 
refuse not to bestow their care upon those who allow 
themselves to commit offences, however slight, against 
their Creator ; considering the knowledge they possess 
of the most adorable greatness of the Divine Majesty, 
which is insulted thereby. How amazing, then, to 
see that they abandon not those wretches who live in 
mortal sin, — Deicides, who trample under foot the Blood 
of a God, and are guilty of His Death : those traitors 
against the Majesty of God, those children, those mem- 
bers, those slaves of the devil, those captives of hell ! 

But this is not. all. Heretics and unbelievers have 
angels to guard them. That great saint, Teresa, said 
that the soul of a Catholic in mortal sin was like a fair 
mirror, whose purity is wholly sullied and entirely spoilt, 
so that it is now a hideous object ; but that this mirror 
in heretics is not only spoilt but broken. The super- 
natural lights with which this seraphic soul was favoured 
taught her deep truths under the form of similitudes, 
of which she made use for the instruction of others. 
The plague of heresy is a raging evil, which we shall never 
folly comprehend till we arrive at that eternal country 

c 



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34 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



where truth shall be beheld in all its solidity and splen- 
dour. But, after all, the love of the angels bears even 
with this j they watch over these miserable beings, over 
all unbelievers, pagans, and idolaters. Turks, who are 
their avowed enemies, since they are the enemies of the 
very name of Christian, receive their aid. Even Anti- 
christ shall have a guardian angel, according to the doc- 
trine of St Thomas, who shall restrain him from much 
evil which he would otherwise do both to others and to 
himself. They perform the same office for all those 
who are hardened in sin, and their protection is not 
' without many good results, even in the case of heretics 
and unbelievers. All these they serve as if they were 
their masters, although they are the slaves of hell, men 
who they perceive clearly will be damned, and who 
are walking in the high road of perdition. 

Let us here stop and admire the goodness of the 
angels. Where is to be found the gardener who would 
water a tree if he knew that it would never bear fruit, 
and who would do it with as much care as if he had 
great expectations from it 1 But how overwhelming is 
the thought, when we consider that they continue to 
prompt us to good with the same fidelity after having 
been repulsed thousands of times, and after having seen \ 
the fruitlessness of their labour on a hundred thousand 
occasions. 

All these affronts, all these insults, all this rebellion, 
all this perfidy, all this malice and atrocity of men, 
who are, so to say, engaged in a perpetual struggle with 
these glorious spirits, labouring to outdo their love with 
ingratitude, do not prevent them from being devoted to 
the service of all men. Let us weigh well these two 
great truths : all the nine choirs of angels, without a 
single exception, are in the service of men; and all 



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35 



men, however vile and wretched they may be, without 
a single exception are assisted by the angels. They go 
and seek them amidst the boundless forests of Canada, 
in the most distant wilds, and in the darkest dungeons, 
at the very ends of the earth, and in the centre of bar- 
barism itself ; and you would say that they were pas- 
sionately enamoured of these men who have nothing 
human about them save the form, their life being alto- 
gether brutal — nay, far below that of beasts. These 
beings of heavenly beauty bestow their love on deformity 
itself, and receive in return nothing but insolent con- 
tempt. It is thus that these spirits love, who love only 
out of pure love, that is to say, who look only to God 
alone. 



FIFTH MOTIVE. 
The Holy Angels do all that is possible to be done for 

THE GrOOD OP MEN. 

The angel who performed the office of a servant to that 
young man who is mentioned in the history of the 
Order of St Dominic, offers us a striking example of this 
truth. A pious lady was apprised late one evening that 
a poor woman who lived in one of the suburbs of the 
town where she was then residing, was in extreme want. 
All her servants being out, she sent her son, who was 
very young. But as the child was frightened at having 
to go in the dark to a quarter which was at some dis- 
tance from his home, a page, who was passing before the 
door with a torch, conducted him to the woman's abode; 
and again, when he had to return, a man presented him- 
self and escorted him back to his mother's house, who 



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36 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



doubted not but that it must have been his good angel 
who had rendered him this charitable service. Truly it 
is much for angels to watch over men so lovingly, but 
to take their form and to appear visibly, as they have 
so often done, this is something greater still. And 
that learned commentator on Holy Scripture, Cornelius 
a Lapide, is of opinion, that after the resurrection they 
will at times assume forms of incredible beauty to 
gratify our external senses. But that which is still 
more wonderful, is to see them put themselves in every 
conceivable situation in order to serve us. They take 
the appearance of poor men, of beggars, of the sick, of 
lepers. There is nothing which they will not do for 
men, who scarcely do anything in acknowledgment of 
the benefits they receive from them. 

Even were it only on certain occasions that they ren- 
dered this assistance to such vile and miserable creatures, 
it would be wonderful : but to confer benefits upon us 
as numerous as the very moments of our life, and after 
such a manner, this is indeed past all conception. We 
have said again and again that the angels are our guar- 
dians ; you also who read this have often said it ; but 
have we ever seriously reflected on a favour so astonish- 
ing and so precious? If a prince of the blood royal 
were to repair to a wretched village, to pass some time 
in the service of a poor peasant, in a wretched hovel, 
would it not excite the wonder of the whole world? 
And if this peasant were his enemy, who constantly ill- 
treated him, and from whom the prince could expect 
nothing to his own advantage, doubtless this would 
much increase the general astonishment. And yet fur- 
ther, if this prince were not only to pass some months 
or even years with this wretched man, but were to 
remain with him to the latest moment of his life never 



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losing sight of him, but always accompanying him, a 
man who was not only ungrateful to him, not only bad, 
but quite brutalised, covered with loathsome diseases, 
disgusting ulcers, vermin, itch, and everything that is 
most revolting, what would men think of this ? 

And yet, my soul, it is thus that thy good angel 
guards thee: it is thus, O thou to whom I speak 
through these pages, that thy holy angel guards thee, 
and affords thee his constant protection. Yes, this 
amiable prince of Paradise never leaves us in this 
valley of misery and tears. The angels, says St Augus- 
tine, go in and out with us, having their eyes always 
fixed upon us and upon all that we are doing. If we 
stop anywhere, they stop also ; if we go forth to walk, 
they bear us company; if we journey into another 
country, they follow us ; go where we will, by land or by 
3ea, they are ever with us. Let the solitary shut him- 
self up in his hermitage, his good angel abides there 
with him ; let the traveller pass continually from one 
country to another, his good angel follows him every- 
where. Oh, exceeding goodness! While we sleep, 
they keep watch by us ; they are always beside us, — us, 
who are sinners, and consequently their enemies ; who 
are hideousness itself by reason of sin, and who could 
not even endure ourselves if we knew our own defor- 
mity, and were sensible of our loathsomeness — us, who 
are ingratitude itself ; the greater part of whose lives is 
made up of criminal actions, either mortal or venial, or 
of mean and unworthy occupations, which assuredly are 
most pitiable in the eyes of those enlightened spirits, 
who plainly perceive their folly and vanity, — us, who 
mix a multitude of faults with the good actions we per- 
form : and notwithstanding all this, they never tire of 
being with us all day long and all night long, and 



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38 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



during every moment of our life. And if we are so 
happy as to be saved, after our death they will visit us in 
the prison of Purgatory, and will not think they degrade 
themselves by coming to console us amidst the furnaces 
and flames of that place of suffering. Truly, is not this 
to act as our servants and slaves, and not merely as our 
guardians? But, more than this: would it be possible— 
I do not say to meet with princes who should be willing 
thus to serve such miserable creatures — but could any 
persons be found, however wretched they might be, 
who would consent to serve kings on these conditions, 
and sacrifice their liberty to such a degree? Begin, 
then, to-day, truly to learn, and fix it well in your 
memory, that the angels are our servants and our slaves. 
Oh, the goodness of God ! Princes of Paradise, kings 
of glory, to be our attendants and our slaves ! That 
holy man, Vincent Caraffa, had indeed reason to say that 
the life of the Christian was something truly wondrous 
and admirable. 

Add to this surprising love, that the angels are not 
satisfied with thus guarding men ; their love is carried 
to such an excess, that, for the love of men, they tend 
even beasts ; not only in that sometimes, disguised as 
shepherds, they have watched over the flocks of certain 
chosen souls, as we read of St Felix,* who was after- 
wards a Capuchin, but that, according to St Augustine, 
the visible world is governed by invisible creatures, 
pure spirits ; and that there are even angels who preside 
over every visible thing, and all the different species of 
creatures in the world, whether animate or inanimate. 
The heavens and the stars have their directing angels ; 
the waters have their own special angel, as is stated in 
the Apocalypse (xvi. 5) ; the air has its angels which 
1 St Felix of Cantalicio. A.D. 1587. 



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39 



govern the -winds, as we may read in the same book 
(viL 1), which, moreover, informs us (xiv. 18) that the 
element of fire also has its angels.* The kingdoms 
have their angels, as Daniel says (x. 13, 20); provinces 
also have their guardian angels, as we learn from 
Genesis (xxxii 1) : for the angels who appeared to 
Jacob were the guardians of the provinces through 
which he was passing. Jacob, says St Augustine, saw 
two troops of angels ; one was commanded by the 
Angel of Mesopotamia, who had conducted that holy 
patriarch with his band to the confines of Canaan ; 
there that holy man was received by the Angel of 
Canaan, accompanied by a multitude of inferior angels, 
to serve him as an escort and defend him from his 
enemies, f Every country, in the opinion of St Clement, 
has an angel to guard it, and so have towns and vil- 
lages, and even private families, in the judgment of the 
learned Tostado : how much more churches and altars, 
as it has pleased our Lord to reveal to several of His 
Saints. 

Thus the whole world is full of angels; and this 
seems conformable to the sweetness with which Divine 
Providence orders things ; for if it be true, as some 
aver, that there are in the air so great a number of 
devils that, if these spirits had bodies, they would cause 
the darkness of night at mid-day, hiding from us the 
sight of the sun, how should men, who are sheer weak- 
ness, be able to resist such might, if they were not suc- 
coured by the protection of the good angels ? Now, all 
these good angels are not stationed throughout this 
universe for no active purpose. As each star has its 
own peculiar influence, so likewise all these blessed 
spirits produce effects beneficial to men, after a manner 
* See Note B. t See Note C. 



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40 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

proper to each ; and if we did but know all the favours 
which we continually receive from them, we must have 
hearts harder than stone not to be sensibly affected by 
it. But, alas ! man is wholly given up to the flesh, 
and thinks of scarcely anything else but the objects 
with which his senses are conversant. It is vain to 
talk to him of spiritual things ; either he comprehends 
them not, or he easily forgets them. Notwithstanding 
all that the Prophet Eliseus might say to his servant of 
the protection of these glorious spirits, the poor man 
did not feel any the more convinced of it, until God 
opened his eyes miraculously, and showed them to him 
under sensible forms. Oh, if the All-Good God were 
to grant to us the same favour, what wonders should we 
discover ! However, let us well and deeply consider 
that all the comfort and benefit we derive from earth, 
air, water, fire, from the heavens, from animals — in fine, 
from all creatures, come to us by the agency of the holy 
angels, who are the faithful ministers of that only God 
whom we adore, who is admirable in all His gifts, and 
who merits for them our unceasing praises for ever and 
ever. 4 
♦ 

SIXTH MOTIVE. 

The Holt Angels assist us in Temporal Things. 

Aftee havingjspoken of the benefits we receive from the 
angels in a general way, it is well to consider a little 
more in detail the favours they confer upon us, that the 
heart of man may be left without excuse, and be irresist- 
ibly constrained to love them. For if benefits, as says 
that holy man, Father Louis of Grenada, are to love what 



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41 



wood is to fire, which increases in intensity and magni- 
tude in proportion to the fuel supplied to it, what fires 
and flames, what conflagrations, should not the love of 
the angels kindle in us, since on all sides we are loaded 
with their loving benefits ? You would say that they 
were determined to bear away the palm of love, if you 
regard the considerate kindness with which they treat 
us, and the multiplied favours which they bestow upon 
us with unparalleled liberality and profusion. Let us 
consider this truth as respects temporal concerns; we 
will afterwards view it in regard to those spiritual 
benefits which help to bring us to a high and blessed 
eternity ; and we shall then be compelled to acknow- 
ledge that there is no good thing for which we are not 
indebted to the love of the angels. 

The angels have care of our bodily nurture. It was 
by these glorious spirits that the infant St John the 
Baptist was brought up in the desert, whither his holy 
mother had taken him, to escape the persecution of 
Herod, and where she died forty days after her retreat 
into this solitude, leaving this blessed child, at the ten- 
der age of eighteen months, all alone in a wilderness, 
deprived of the assistance of any visible creature. They 
have a care also for our bodily sustenance. They carried 
to the Blessed Gere Indoise, 1 in a rich vessel, manna 
whiter than snow, the taste of which was more delicious 
than the choicest earthly meats. They entertained the 
martyrs St Firmin and St Rusticus, and supplied them 
with abundant food. They carried a repast to Daniel 
in the den where he was confined (xiv. 32-38); and the 

1 The translator haB been unable to discover who this holy 
woman was, or when and where she lived, although he has made 
inquiries in quarters which appeared to be most capable of fur- 
nishing the desired information. 



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42 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



holy prophet Elias, when he was lying on the ground 
so exhausted that there was no more strength in him, 
received at their hands food which imparted to him so 
much vigour that it was sufficient to enable him to walk 
during forty days, till he reached the holy mountain of 
Horeb (3 Kings xix. 5-8). They give drink to those 
who are thirsty. When Agar's child was at the point 
of death, they preserved his life by the water they 
pointed out to the afflicted mother (Gen. xxL 14-19). 
They provide men with raiment : the virgin St Anthusa 
was arrayed magnificently by them. They confer honours 
upon them. A hundred angels appeared at the death 
of the blessed Agatha, and composed her epitaph. They 
promoted to the dignity of the episcopate the illustrious 
St Mello, Archbishop of Rouen; and exalted to the 
highest station on earth the Sovereign Pontiff, St 
Gregory the Great. They minister to the recreation of 
men, and afford them innocent pleasures. St Francis 
being sick, they played upon an instrument of music 
for his solace. They ministered the same gratification 
to St Nicholas of Tolentino, during the six months pre- 
ceding his death. They caused the most ravishing music 
to be heard round the sacred body of the Mother of God 
during the space of three days, for the consolation of 
those who approached that divine tabernacle. They 
gave roses to St Rosaly in a desert where they had 
never bloomed. They are forward to gratify the desires 
of their friends. St Agnes, of Monte Pulciano, wished 
for certain relics, and she received them accordingly at 
the hands of these amiable spirits. They procure 
temporal goods for those who serve them, when it is 
not contrary to God's appointment. It was by their 
holy devices that Jacob became rich, while he abode 
with his father-in law, Laban (Gen. xxxi. 1 1-13). They 



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43 



obtain children for married persons who are without 
them, as we read in the Book of Judges (xiii. 2-23), 
in the case of the wife of Manue. They make men 
eloquent, of which we have an instance in Isaias vi. 6-8. 
They make beautiful and rich presents : witness that 
magnificent picture which they gave to St Galla, a young 
Roman widow. They accompany travellers. We have 
a striking proof of this in the person of Tobias, who 
was conducted, with a goodness which perfectly enchants 
us, by St Eaphael (Tob. v. 5, <fcc.). This same arch- 
angel, for three years, visibly accompanied St Macarius, 
the Roman, acting as his guide from the time he left 
Home, whence this saint had fled on his marriage-day, 
until he had penetrated far into the desert. They visit 
and console the servants of God. All the lives of the 
Fathers of the Desert are full of testimonies to this 
truth. St Ludwine was often visited by them, and the 
martyrs frequently received this honour in their prisons. 
But you must not suppose, says the learned Rupert, that 
they never visited them except in a visible form ; they 
were very near them even when they did not behold 
them, supporting them in the midst of their torments, 
giving them strength to bear their chains, and taking 
pleasure even in numbering all their wounds. It must 
have been an enrapturing sight to see them wiping away 
the sweat of a glorious martyr with a cloth of beautiful 
whiteness, and from time to time giving him water to 
drink, to minister some refreshment to him in his pains. 
O my God, O my God, how good it is to suffer some- 
thing for Thee ! 

But if they procure all these good things for us during 
life, they also assist us and deliver us from all kinds of 
eviL They liberate from prison, break the chains of 
captives and set them at liberty, as Scripture records — 



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44 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



(Acts xii 7-11) — of the prince of the Apostles, and 
supreme head of the Church. They rescue from flames, 
as is related of Daniel (iii. 49) ; from conflagrations, as 
we read in Genesis (xix. 15-17) ; from lions, as we see 
in the case of the prophet just mentioned (Dan. vi. 22); 
from calumny, infamy, and death, as the Holy Spirit 
declares to us of Susanna (xiii. 55, 59) ; from the 
sword, as we see in the person of Isaac (Gen. xx. 11). 
They heal men of every kind of malady, as St John, 
the beloved disciple, writes in his Gospel (v. 4). We 
learn in the fourth Book of Kings (L 9-15), how they 
protect their friends, and are the adversaries of such as 
seek to injure them ; they arm themselves on their be- 
half, assume the garb and form of soldiers, and go forth 
to do battle for them. We meet with marvellous ex- 
amples of this in the Book of Machabees. 1 In fine, it 
would be necessary here to reckon up all the evils which 
can afflict us — whether in mind or body, or in our tem- 
poral, natural, and moral goods ; whether in regard to 
our private or our public interests ; by wars, pestilences, 
or famines ; whether by friends or foes — in order to 
specify all the various kinds of assistance we receive 
from the angels, and to teach all people that these are 
the gracious and powerful protectors, to whom we must 
have recourse in all our needs, whatever they may be. 
It is true, Divine Providence has given us the Saints 
for defenders ; some against plague, as St Sebastian, St 
Roch, and St Adrian ; others against toothache, as St 
Lawrence, and St Apollina ; others against disorders 
of the eyes, as St Clara, and St Lucy ; others in case 
of captivity, as St Leonard and St Paulinus. Thus, in 
the order of Providence, we have special recourse for 
• one thing to one Saint, for another to another ; but in 
1 E.g., 2 Mach. iii. 25, 20. 



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THEY HELP MEN IN TEMPORAX THINGS. 45 

the order of the same Providence the angels are ap- 
pointed to assist us generally in all our distresses, and 
to obtain for us all sorts of good. We cannot do better 
than address ourselves to these loving spirits, and pay 
them private, or procure for them public devotions, to 
appease the auger of God, and draw down His mercies 
upon us. 

Before concluding, let us here admire the protection 
of the angels in that admirable example given us in 
Scripture. It was an angel who led the people of God 
by that miraculous pillar spoken of in Exodus (xiii. 21, 
22). It was one of these immortal spirits who com- 
municated motion to that pillar which went before the 
people for the space of forty years, indicating to them 
the road they were to take in the midst of the desert, 
where there was no path to guide them. He made it 
move forward or stand still, according as it was neces- 
sary for the people either to journey onward or to rest. 
He caused it to be visible under the appearance of a 
cloud during the day, and under that of fire by night. 
He gave it its density, its width, and its height, that 
it might be easily discernible by so great a multitude, 
which, according to the opinion of the learned Pereyra, 
occupied ground to the extent of five leagues. By its 
means he provided them with a shade to protect them 
from the excessive heats of the sun. He caused it to 
leave its position in advance of the people and to pass 
to the rear, in order that, in this pillar, he might stand 
between the Hebrews and the army of Pharao, giving 
light to the former and blinding the unbelievers, whom 
he made to perish miserably in the waters of the Bed 
Sea, which he divided for a brief space, that the people 
of God might walk through it dry-shod. The whole ' 
host of the Egyptians, numbering two hundred and 



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46 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



fifty thousand armed men, was overwhelmed therein, not 
a single man remaining to tell the news. I leave it to 
the devotion of those who read of this wonderful guid- 
ance to meditate at leisure upon all its details. So 
striking are they, that it needs but a slight attention for 
us to be profoundly convinced that the services which 
the angels render to men are immeasurably great, and 
so be led to magnify the Holy Name of the Lord, who 
alone works all these wonders by the ministers of His 
heavenly court. 

♦ . 

SEVENTH MOTIVE. 

The Holt Angels bendib us great Services fob Etebnity. 

Strictly speaking, there is but one only affair, which 
is the affair of affairs, the only great, the sole affair, 
and that is the affair of eternity. Everything which 
does not tend to that is nothing, and it is thus we 
must both think and speak of it. Oh, how contempt- 
ible, then, are the honours, the pleasures, and the goods 
of this perishable world ! Oh, how unworthy are all 
temporal matters to occupy a Christian soul ! Truly, 
truly, the whole world, and all that the world contains 
of what is sweetest or most afflicting, does not deserve 
that we should turn aside for one moment to look at 
it. How clearly shall we perceive these truths at the 
moment of our death, and how soon shall we thus 
behold them ! for soon shall we with astonishment per- 
ceive that the world exists for us no longer. Oh the 
folly of the human heart to allow itself to rest in it ! 
Would to God that this truth of Scripture might never 



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47 



depart from before our eyes : " The world passeth 
away, and the concupiscence thereof" (1 John ii. 17) ; 
and that we might once for all understand that that 
which passeth away ought to have no place in our 
hearts. Eternity alone ought to fill our minds; and 
the services we receive to help us to arrive there happily 
are the really great services which we ought to value. 
And here the love of the angels bears away the palm ; 
it is in this matter that they show themselves to be our 
true friends, and that the aid they render us is indeed 
inestimable. 

These blessed spirits apply themselves with un- 
imaginable zeal to procure for us the life of grace, which 
is the life of a glorious eternity. To accomplish this 
end they have been known lovingly to urge apostolic 
men to go and announce the Gospel to the people who 
were walking in the shadow of death, as appears in the 
case of St Paul and St Francis Xavier ; and with this 
design they have even been pleased to accompany those 
divine workmen who laboured to establish the life of 
eternity in souls ; as is related of St Martial, who had 
for associates in his apostolic functions twelve angels, 
who visibly assisted him. How many souls receive 
holy baptism through their charitable care, who, with- 
out their ministry, would have died in the death of 
original sin ! Father de Loret, of the Company of 
Jesus, relates a very remarkable example of this kind. 
In the month of January in the year 1634, in the city 
of Vienna, three souls delivered from Purgatory ap- 
peared to a religious of the same Company, to thank 
him because, through his prayers and mortifications, 
they were going to the enjoyment of eternal repose. 
"On the day of your birth," said they, "our good 
angels brought us the news of it, and promised us that 



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48 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGEI8. 



you should one day be our deliverer, which consoled us 
much. Know, besides, that you are much indebted to 
your angel-guardian, because, had it not been for him, 
you would never have received baptism : the nurse had 
so tightened up your chest and throat, that you would 
have been suffocated if this loving guardian had not 
loosened the swaddling bands a little to enable you to 
breathe." 

These amiable spirits are not satisfied with procuring 
for us that life of blessedness, but, like fond mothers, 
they take every possible care to preserve it to us, to 
maintain it, and to augment it. This is why they are 
so lovingly solicitous to procure for us the blessing of 
receiving the Adorable Body of our Good Master, who 
is the Life of our lives, and without whom we cannot 
have true life. How often have they carried this life- 
giving Sacrament of the Body of Jesus into deserts and 
other places, to preserve and increase the life of the 
souls to whom they gave It ! The blessed Stanislas, a 
novice in the Company of Jesus, of angelic purity, and 
himself a very angel upon earth, was honoured with 
these favours ; and St Onuphrius furnishes in his own 
person an illustrious testimony to this truth. They 
neglect none of all the other means which may pro- 
mote our eternal well-being. Prayer is one of the most 
certain and most profitable; and it is through their 
ministry that our prayers are offered before the throne 
of the Divine Majesty ; indeed, amongst all the exer- 
cises of the spiritual life, there is none in which they 
are more present to assist us. Mortification is the 
twin sister of prayer; they should ever go together, 
and never be separated. What have not these holy 
spirits done, and what are they not continually doing, 
to engage us in the solid practice of this virtue, which 



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is so necessary that without it nothing can be expected 
from a soul ? for it is certain that to be truly Christian, 
we must be truly mortified. They have frequently 
appeared in a visible form to give holy lessons in this 
virtue, and their instructions have been worthy of the 
lights they possess. 

It is also their holy occupation to inspire us with the 
love of all the other virtues, and particularly with the 
love of virginal purity, for it renders us like to them- 
selves : it makes us their brethren, says St Cyprian ; it 
unites us with them in a more intimate friendship. 
What have they not been known to do in its defence ! 
They fight, they disguise themselves, they cause the 
death of those who assail it ; they render invisible the 
persons who possess it, to deliver them from their peril; 
they change everything in nature for the preservation 
of a virtue which, raising man above human nature, 
causes him to lead upon earth a life all heavenly. 

Their great care, however, is directed to inspiring us 
with love for Jesus and Mary, so worthy of all love. 
As they know that the love of these sacred Persons is 
the soul of all virtues, they bend all their endeavours 
to root it deeply in our hearts. St Dominic was one of 
the most fervent lovers of Jesus and Mary who ever 
lived, and he was also the well-beloved of the angels. 
He received at their hands all kinds of help during 
those long watches of the night which he spent pros- 
trate at the foot of the holy altar, pouring forth the 
affections and longings of his heart without restraint in 
presence of his Good Master in the Most Holy Sacrament, 
and invoking with tears the protection of the Blessed 
Virgin. However wearied he might be while he was 
journeying on the road, he was never tired of watching 
whole nights in prayer, and used his utmost endeavours 

d 



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50 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



that it should be before the Adorable Eucharist. The 
angels, enraptured with this indefatigable love, asso- 
ciated themselves with him. These spirits of Heaven 
took pleasure in accompanying this heavenly man. 
They were seen to bring lights, and take them to the 
room into which he had retired, open first the doors of 
the house, and then of the church, whither they con- 
ducted him ; and afterwards, when the time was come, 
they escorted him back in the same manner. The 
servants of a bishop with whom he lodged, having 
observed this marvel, mentioned it to the prelate, who 
watched the holy man about the time when the prodigy 
used to occur, and had the consolation of witnessing it, 
beholding with admiration the goodness of the heavenly 
spirits to men. 

But because it is needful, in order to the practice of 
virtue, to have the mind enlightened and the will moved, 
they do not fail to communicate light to the under- 
standing, and pious impulses to the heart ; sometimes 
enlightening the understanding and moving the will by 
the manifestation of certain hidden truths under sensible 
similitudes ; filling the mind with holy images which 
produce good thoughts ; acting upon the external and 
internal senses ; stirring the spirits and humours of our 
bodies, and exciting desires in the sensitive appetite. 
They reveal the most divine mysteries of religion. It 
was through them that the Old Law was given, and 
that the greater truths of the New Law were mani- 
fested. The whole ancient dispensation is full of reve- 
lations made by the holy angels ; and under the new 
they announced to the glorious Mother of God the 
adorable mystery of the Incarnation ; to the shepherds, 
the Birth of the Son of God ; to St Joseph, the Con- 
ception of the Uncreated Word in the pure womb of 



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his virginal spouse, and the place to which he was to 
conduct the Holy Child, in order to save Him from the 
persecution of Herod ; to the Maries, the Resurrection 
of our Saviour ; to the disciples, His tremendous coming 
at the Last Judgment-day. 

It is their constant thought, also, and unremitting 
care, to preserve us from sin, or to deliver us from it 
when we have fallen into it ; at one time by disclosures 
of Paradise, of Hell, or of Eternity ; at another, by the 
consideration of the fatal effects which follow crime; 
sometimes by piercing thoughts of death, and of the 
shortness of life ; and again, by the examples of saints, 
or by the punishment of sinners. Those lights, which 
sometimes in an instant open the eyes of the soul to 
the greatest truths, those sudden impressions, which 
surprise us when we least expect them, and which 
move us so efficaciously, come to us by the ministry of 
the good angels. There are happy moments when the 
heart feels itself strangely urged to give itself to God, 
without knowing why ; and that, too, in the midst of 
recreation, amusement, or festivity, on chance occasions, 
and even at the very time when we have resolved to 
commit some sin. It is the angels who produce these 
master-strokes of salvation, if we but know how to 
profit by them, obtaining for us from the mercy of God 
powerful graces, and on their part working wonders 
in our internal and external senses, moderating our 
passions, removing out of our way hindrances to the use 
of grace, overthrowing devils, and rendering easy to us 
all the means fitted to make us faithful to the attrac- 
tions of the Spirit of God. They discover to us both 
our great and our little faults ; they show us our imper- 
fections ; they manifest to us the most secret opposition 
which we offer to the Spirit of grace ; they dispose us 



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52 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



to do penance, to make a good confession, to satisfy 
divine justice ; and they have often assumed bodies to 
make themselves visible, that they might thereby con- 
verse with men on the affair of their salvation in a more 
sensible manner. 

In fine, they animate and encourage us in arduous 
undertakings ; they comfort us in labours and suffer- 
ings ; they support us that we may persevere in virtue ; 
they obtain for us strength in mental distresses and 
scruples; they conduct us amidst the darkest paths; 
they revive our dejected spirits ; they fill us with joy, 
and procure for us that peace which surpasses all 
imagination, preserving the depth of the soul, amid all 
the storms and tempests which, in its own despite, 
agitate its inferior part, in a tranquillity which nothing 
can disturb. To these spirits it belongs to bestow joy 
and peace ; and so we see St Raphael saluting old Tobias 
with the words, " Joy be to thee always," and saying, 
" Peace be to you," on taking his leave (Tob. v. 1 1 ; xii 
17). It is not the fault of the holy angels if peace 
reign not in the recesses of our souls ; but it is attach- 
ment to created things that hinders its sway. To 
remain ever at peace we must ever belong to God 
only. 



EIGHTH MOTIVE. 

The Protection op the Holt Angels against the Devils, 
with Particular Reference to their Different Temp- 
tations, WHICH ARE HERE TREATED OP. 

" Ouk whole life," says the devout St Bernard, " is 
nothing but one long temptation;" and this doctrine he 
had drawn from Scripture, which teaches us the same 



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truth — temptation without, temptation within, tempta- 
tion on the part of our fellow-creatures, temptation 
arising from ourselves. It is a strange thing that we 
should be dangerous enemies to ourselves, that we should 
be obliged to be upon our guard and distrust ourselves, 
seeing that our destruction proceeds from ourselves, who 
often labour with our whole might to accomplish our 
own ruin. But we have also other battles to fight 
against enemies mighty in their strength, cruel in their 
fury, terrible in their cunning, countless in their multi- 
tude, indefatigable in their pursuit. Add to this, that 
they are pure spirits, who strike without being seen, 
who penetrate everywhere, who, though invisible, see 
all we do here below, and who contend with those who 
are excessively weak, and who walk in the midst of a 
dark night, on slippery paths, where it is almost impos- 
sible to keep from falling, and which are surrounded on 
all sides with frightful precipices, involving woes end- 
less in their duration, and extreme in their intensity. 
Oh, if men did but meditate seriously upon these 
great truths, if they did but afford a little entrance to 
supernatural light, how thoroughly would they change 
their lives! Then truly would they serve the Lord 
with fear, and their flesh would be transfixed with 
dread of the frightful evils to which we are continu- 
ally exposed, and to which, alas! we scarcely give a 
thought. 

O you, whoever you may be, who read these things, 
read them not without giving them the greatest heed. 
These combats which you are about to witness belong 
to a war which is not waged only against the kingdom 
in which you dwell, and the persons whom you love, it 
is against yourself that it is declared ; it is you whom 
these furious enemies attack ; it is with them you must 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



fight ; it is over their strength and their cunning that 
you, who are nothing but sheer weakness and blindness, 
have to triumph, or you must be lost for ever. Repeat 
these terrible words : Lost for ever I lost for ever I But, 
in good sooth, do we really know what we are saying 
when we use these words ? And if we know, why do 
we live like those who have never heard them ? 

Let us, then, place ourselves in presence of the 
Divine Majesty, and, after a hearty renunciation, for the 
love of God only, of all our sins, let us enter again into 
our interior. Having calmed all our passions, let us 
consider, in the tranquillity of our soul, that the devils 
are our infuriated enemies, who have all conspired our 
eternal ruin ; for they are so cruel in their rage that they 
are not only bent, like our earthly foes, on depriving us 
of our bodily life, which sooner or later we must lose, 
or on depriving us of our goods, our honour, and our 
friends, but it is our soul they plot against, to deprive 
it of an eternal kingdom, to rob it of a perfect joy and 
glory, and to plunge it into torments which the eye of 
man hath not seen, nor his ear heard, neither can his 
mind ever have conceived, and that for an eternity; 
that we may suffer inconceivable agonies in perpetual 
rage and despair, as long as God shall be God. This 
is why, in order to give us some faint notion of them, 
they are called in Scripture, wolves, lions, and dragons j 1 
their cruelty surpassing the power of language to ex- 
press. 

This rage is accompanied with such strength, that we 
read in Job (xli 24) that there is no power on earth 
which can be compared to it, and that the devil fears 
no one. All mankind united could not resist him 
without the special assistance of Heaven ; and millions 
1 E.g. John x. 12; 1 Pet. v. 8 ; Ps. xc. 18. 



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of soldiers in battle array would be to this spirit like a 
little chaff which is scattered before the wind. There- 
fore it is that these angels of darkness are called in 
Scripture (Eph. vL 12; ii 2) "powers," and that they 
are styled princes and rulers of this corrupt world, the 
greater part of men being brought by sin into subjec- 
tion to their detestable tyranny. 

Add to their fury and strength a countless number 
of malicious artifices which they employ to seduce us, 
accompanied with such subtle and wicked inventions 
that the wisest have been deceived by them, and the 
most enlightened have been struck with blindness. 
This is why the apostle calls the devil "he that 
tempteth " (1 Thess. iii. 5) ; and the name given him 
in the Gospel (Matt. iv. 3) is that of " the tempter. " 
Again, he is styled in Scripture sometimes the dragon 
and the serpent, sometimes the hunter, a liar, and the 
father of lies, a spirit of error and of confusion. 1 The 
serpent, whose form he took, is the most subtle of 
beasts, as we read in Qen. iii. 1 ; and having deceived 
our first parents by his cunning, he has continued 
through the course of ages to tempt men by this means, 
finding it the best adapted to accomplish his end and 
to succeed in executing his most cruel designs. The 
lapse of ages only serves to render him more expert in 
deceit ; hence it is that later heresies are generally the 
most subtle. The temptations he employs become 
every day more dangerous; and this it is which may 
well make us tremble, seeing that while we become 
more feeble, our enemies become more formidable. 
" How," said the great Pachomius one day to him, 
" can you venture to assert that such and such things 
shall happen to my religious 1 Do you not full well 

1 E.g., Apoo. xx. 2 ; Ps. xc. S ; John viii. ii 1 John iv. 6. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



Know that the future is known to God alone, or to 
those to whom it pleases Him to reveal it V 9 " True," 
answered the devil, " I do not know the future, but the 
great experience I have of things enables me to form 
such strong conjectures, that I often easily foresee them 
before they happen." 

This, then, is an enemy whom men have had from 
the beginning of the world, and for six or seven thou- 
sand years he has never ceased to busy himself day and 
night in laying ambushes for them everywhere. St An- 
thony one day saw the world full of snares, — the air, 
the earth, the sea, and all the other waters. There are 
traps set for the eternal loss of souls in deserts and 
solitudes, in the midst of cities and assemblies, in pal- 
aces and castles, in the humblest cottages, alike in high 
and low estate ; in pleasures and in sufferings, in riches 
and in poverty, in cloisters and in the world, in eating 
and drinking, in watching and sleeping, and in the 
holiest exercises. This enemy has darts and arrows 
ready prepared to let fly in all sorts of places and 
against all sorts of persons. He insinuates slander into 
men's discourse, and suggests impure thoughts in con- 
versation between persons of a different sex ; when 
anything is said which displeases us, he fails not at the 
moment to urge us to anger or revenge. He assumes 
every attitude, and takes every species of form. One 
while, as St Augustine remarks, he will take the shape 
of a wolf, and at another that of a lamb. Sometimes 
he will come and fight with us in the darkness, at 
others he will attack us at mid-day. There is a devil 
called in Scripture "the noon-day devil" (Ps. xc. 6). 

He accommodates himself with wonderful tact to all 
our humours, studying our inclinations from our child- 
hood. He notes the bent of our nature and that which 



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is predominant in us : this is the point at which he 
especially directs his strongest battery, like the general 
of an army thoroughly experienced in the affairs of 
war, who assaults a city in the quarter where it is least 
defensible. He attacks us through our weakness ; he 
contrives a thousand opportunities of forming intima- 
cies for those who are inclined to love; those who are 
of a sanguine temperament he excites to impurity and 
to indulgence in the pleasures of life ; the bilious to 
vengeance ; the melancholy to sadness, discouragement, 
and despair ; the choleric to quarrels ; the phlegmatic 
to sloth ; the timid to avarice ; while lofty natures he 
prompts to aspire to offices and dignities. He has in 
his snares baits suited to catch all kinds of persons, 
varying them according to the inclination of each, and 
the humour he perceives to be dominant at the moment. 

In order the better to succeed, he shows only what 
is agreeable in honours and pleasures, cunningly hiding 
the evil in them, as the fisherman hides his hook in 
the bait he prepares for the fish. He hinders the sen- 
sual from reflecting on the shameful diseases, the dis- 
honour and dissipation of substance, which attend upon 
impurity. He does the same with regard to all the 
other vices; he fills the imagination only with what 
pleases the humour, and diverts the eyes from the eter- 
nal wretchedness which is the great evil, the sovereign 
and only evil, lying hidden within this specious and 
deceitful good. 

If he perceives that he gains nothing by one tempta- 
tion, because at times the soul, by the help of grace, 
keeps special watch against it, he attacks it with 
several. He imitates those tyrants who, desiring to 
pervert Christians, and force them to renounce their 
holy faith, employed every variety of means to accom- 



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58 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

plish their purpose; sometimes proposing to them 
splendid alliances, wealthy marriages, the sweetness of 
this world's pleasures ; sometimes high offices and an 
exalted station. And when these generous martyrs 
were proof against all that could allure the senses, they 
endeavoured to overcome them by the fear of torments, 
and of everything most horrible. It is thus the devil 
makes war against men by all that can charm the 
senses or gratify the mind, and when he gains nothing 
in this way, he tries that of sufferings, whether exter- 
nal or internal. He assails us by means of sicknesses, 
loss of goods or of reputation, the desertion of friends, 
ill-treatment, contradictions, sadness, weariness, our own 
ill-humour, interior anguish, repugnances, scruples, and 
other great sufferings with which he afflicts us in rela- 
tion both to God and men. 

One of his chief objects is to choose his time welL 
Thus he will tempt a person strongly to impurity at a 
time when he is most inclined to it, and at the instant he 
remarks any violent excitement in the senses, or where 
the time, place, and person lend themselves to it, or on 
occasions when there is greater difficulty in resisting : 
as, for example, when a young girl, destitute of all pro- 
tection, has her chastity assailed by offers of placing 
her in easy circumstances ; or he will incline persons to 
sin when they are less on their guard, or when they are 
in some part of the country where they are less pro- 
vided with spiritual help, or on some day when prayer 
has been neglected, or other devotional exercises have 
not been attended to ; in a time of lukewarmness, or 
depression, or uneasiness, or discouragement, when 
some interval has elapsed since they were at confession 
and communion, or when they are deprived of sensible 
sweetness and consolations. 



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Sometimes these miserable spirits feign to retreat, 
like those generals who raise the siege of a town in 
order to retrace their steps, and take it when least ex- 
pected. They will dissimulate for a length of time in 
order to make more sure of their blow. For example, 
you will see persons of a different sex, whether married 
or not, contract intimate friendships, entertaining at the 
time no bad intention, and years will sometimes elapse 
without either the one or the other thinking of evil 
The devils do not tempt them, because, being persons 
who fear God, their intimacy would make them uneasy, 
if they perceived the danger of it ; but when they see 
hearts deeply engaged, and familiarity established 
closely and confidently, then it is they put forth their 
power, and often with too fatal success. Thus they will 
allow persons to betake themselves to play, amusements, 
gay company, the reading of romances, good eating and 
drinking, and such like things, as balls, and parties of 
pleasure, where too much freedom is permitted ; and in 
all this their object is to prevent souls perceiving that 
the spirit of devotion is growing slack within them. 
They will even preserve them from many faults which 
they might have committed on these occasions, in order 
that the habit may become so strong in them, that they 
may find a difficulty in freeing themselves, as they might 
easily have done at the beginning; and having thus 
caught them, they then begin to tempt them violently, 
and make them feel, only too late, the danger to which 
unknowingly they have exposed themselves. 

They amuse with a false peace many who are living 
in vice or in error, causing them to give large alms, say 
many prayers, perform many mortifications, and such 
like works, deluding them with intellectual lights, 
sensible consolations, and an apparent tranquillity of 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



conscience; and thus they deceive many who are in 
heresy, and who remain therein captivated by these fair 
semblances of virtue, which the devils also make use of 
even to attract those who were far removed from it : 
this is why heresies which assume the mask of piety 
are much more dangerous than those which are the off- 
spring of unmixed licentiousness. I once knew a servant 
of God who was tormented with distressing temptations, 
and at the same time much inclined to embrace a 
heretical tenet, but as soon as he began to deliberate 
about adopting it, all his temptations used to leave 
him ; these spirits of hell employing this stratagem in 
order to persuade him that he might follow such opinion 
with a good conscience. It often happens that they 
have recourse to this artifice to stifle the remorse of 
those who have abandoned the Catholic faith, lolling 
their conscience to rest, and prompting them to the 
practice of many seemingly virtuous actions. They also 
employ" it in the case of certain souls who, fearing to 
be lost eternally on account of some mortal sin in which 
they are entangled, try to quiet their self-reproach by 
good works, and thus to rid themselves, if possible, of 
their just fear of damnation. 

These wretched spirits do their utmost to discover 
the designs of God with respect to a soul, with the view 
of misleading it in the ways of grace, and drawing it 
aside from its vocation. They will induce one who is 
called to serve the Church in the world, to enter the 
cloister, while, on the other hand, they will persuade 
him who is called to the cloister, to become a secular 
priest. If they observe that a person is called by grace 
to a wide sphere of action, and has a decided vocation 
to labour in various places for the good of souls, they 
will try to fix him in some cure, or prebend, or other 



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benefice requiring residence. The holy man Avila, 
thoroughly penetrated with this truth, would never con- 
sent to the proposals made to him by a great prelate, 
with a view to detain him in his diocese ; and the event 
proved plainly that the glory of God was interested in 
the matter. This consideration (independently of the 
particular reason affecting their Order) constrained seve- 
ral eminent members of the Company of Jesus, as is 
related in their history, to resist the urgent solicitations 
of the Emperor, who wished them to accept bishoprics. 
" Our labours," they said, " must not be confined to 
one diocese." "The whole world," said the late M. 
Vincent 1 to an ecclesiastic of great piety, who was 
refusing a cure of souls to which his uncle desired to 
present him, in order to enter the Congregation of the 
Mission — " The whole world must be your cure." 

Others there are upon whom so general a grace has 
not been bestowed, and these they will induce to burden 
themselves with too many employments ; and thus, by 
exhausting their strength, they unfit them for the more 
limited duties which God requires of them. There are 
directors who have grace given them to conduct souls 
that are beginning to walk in the paths of virtue ; there 
are others who have grace to guide the more advanced ; 
there are others, again, who are endowed with admirable 
talents for directing those who are in the highest paths 
of perfection. It has been remarked that one of the 
most distinguished servants of God who has appeared 
in our age, was gifted with a marvellous grace for 
directing the most perfect souls, and very little, or 
scarcely any at all, for the conversion of sinners. Holy 
persons are also to be met with, whose labours in draw- 
ing souls out of sin are blessed with extraordinary fruit, 
1 St Vincent de PauL 



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62 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



but who have but little success in leading men on to 
eminent sanctity. It is a rare thing to meet with those 
who have a universal gift of direction : the devils, 
then, strive to divert the labours of directors from the 
line of their graces, and to make them undertake either 
too much or too little in the guidance of the souls 
which God sends to them. A great man of our day, 
very generally known by several volumes of Meditations 
which he published, said to a person who consulted him, 
"I have no knowledge of that way." And another 
religious of the same Congregation said, in answer to a 
person who asked his opinion concerning his state, " My 
lights extend only so far." These were souls truly de- 
voted to God, who, notwithstanding the high esteem in 
which they were held, were not ashamed to acknowledge 
that there were certain states in the spiritual life into 
which they had no insight for the direction of others. 

These artful spirits inspire those whom grace would 
lead to occupy themselves externally for the good of 
their neighbour, with a wish for solitude, and incline 
to an active life those whom grace would draw to retire- 
ment. " Oh, how many there are," says the holy man 
Avila, in one of his letters which we have already quoted, 
" who enter holy orders, and intrude themselves into 
the sacerdotal office, through the instigation of devils ; 
who, seeing plainly their faults and vicious inclinations, 
know well the profanations and sacrileges which will 
hence result when such men have to celebrate the 
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass almost every day ! Many of 
these would have saved their souls in the married 
state. 

They tempt fathers, mothers, and relatives, by the 
love of riches or honours, to compel their children, with 
a view to these objects, to enter into states to which God 



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does not call them. Thus they will force them into the 
priesthood, or into religion, to relieve their family of 
the burden of their maintenance, or for the sake of 
aggrandisement; and from similar motives they will 
press them to accept some judicial appointment, though 
they do not possess the required knowledge, or the 
application necessary to acquit themselves worthily of 
the duties of a good judge or a good lawyer, or to fulfil 
the obligations of any other office which may be en- 
trusted to them. Indeed we may say that the great 
majority of persons, through the arts of these wicked 
spirits, are altogether differently employed to what they 
ought to be. 

If they cannot turn us aside from the paths of grace, 
they devise means to make us do things in a different 
manner to what God wills. Does God require of a soul 
fasting, watching, and the exercise of holy prayer, they 
will make it fast, watch, and pray too much. " This," 
says the devout Louis of Grenada, " is a common temp- 
tation with those who jire beginning to serve God, and 
who often by these excesses render themselves unfit for 
the performance of what they ought to do, or might 
have been able to do in course of time. They contrive 
to conceal from persons the injury they are inflicting 
on mind and body, so that they may have more time to 
accomplish the ruin of both one and the other, persuad- 
ing them that such practices do them no harm. God 
requires perfection \ they urge persons to pursue it with 
a natural eagerness which proceeds only from self-love. 
God desires us to feel sorrow for our faults ; they will 
mingle with it anxiety, despondency, melancholy, and 
vexation. God requires of us that we should labour 
for our sanctification with the help of His grace ; they 
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64 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

and dishearten us, proving to us, by the repeated faults 
into which we fall, that success is, so to say, impossible 
for us. They will do their utmost to make us either 
outrun grace, or lag behind it, prompting us to do things 
out of God's appointed season. We must do good, and 
we must do that good which God desires of us, in the 
manner which He desires, and at the time that He has 
ordained. St Philip Neri was undoubtedly called to 
the priesthood ; but it was God's design that he should 
not enter it until he was already somewhat advanced in 
years ; he therefore constantly resisted the solicitations 
of those who would have induced him to take holy 
orders before that time had come. The Adorable Jesus 
came into the world to sacrifice His divine life for its 
salvation ; and He flies and hides Himself until the 
time prescribed by His Eternal Father has arrived. 
" He hath put the times and the moments in His own 
power," said our gracious Saviour (Acts i 7); it is not 
for us therefore either to hurry on before or to linger 
behind. Our dear Master was to die ; but He was to 
die at the time decreed by His Eternal Father. Silence 
is a great virtue, nevertheless St Francis reproved one 
of his religious because he carried it to excess. 

God demands of souls the exercise of holy prayer. 
The devils will detain at discursive prayer, or at simple 
meditation, those whom the Holy Spirit is attracting 
to divine contemplation ; while they will raise others to 
contemplation who ought still to proceed by the discur- 
sive way. They will encourage souls to proceed from 
active to passive contemplation whom the Spirit of God 
does not lead thereto; while to those whom He has so led, 
they will suggest fears, and cause others to suggest them. 
They will give sensible consolations, to draw men away 
from resting on pure faith, or to enfeeble their bodily 



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powers ; they will impel to too much application of the 
imagination and the understanding, and try to injure 
the brain. They will transform themselves into " angels 
of light," 1 by false visions, revelations, interior utter- 
ances; and their stratagems are so artful, that they 
will even make their operation pass for purely intellec- 
tual visions — an operation so subtle, that it would seem 
as if the external and internal senses had no share in 
it, and that it was consequently a supernatural opera- 
tion of the Spirit of God ; and this that men may put 
their trust in it, and thereby fall more deeply into 
delusion. 

God wishes us to go to confession : they will make 
us approach this sacrament from self-love, in order to 
be relieved as soon as possible of the burden of our 
sins ; not so much from the love of God, and the move- 
ment of His grace, as from the love of ourselves, be- 
cause our pride is hurt by seeing itself in so humiliating 
a condition. It is also observable that such as ap- 
proach in this manner fall more grievously afterwards. 
We may confess every day, nay, frequently during the 
day, as some Saints have done ; but then we must do 
it as they did it. 

God requires us to go to communion : the devils 
will hinder the frequentation of this Sacrament of 
Love, or they will induce souls to approach it too often 
who have not the necessary dispositions, and even at 
times are prompted by a secret movement of self-love, 
though they do not perceive it. A student, a regent, a 
preacher, a judge, a bishop, ought to attend to their 
respective avocations, and fulfil the duties of their 
state : the devils, under the pretext of retirement, dis- 
engagement from the world, or application to prayer, 
i 2 Cor. xi. 14. 

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will make them quit their studies, their professional 
employments, or the care of their diocese ; and, on the 
other hand, under the plea of study, business, or the 
onerous cares which the Episcopate imposes, they will 
induce them to throw themselves entirely into external 
occupations, and the prelate, the judge, the preacher, 
will do nothing but study, talk of business, and mix 
with the world, without scarcely allowing time for prayer 
and converse with God. 

O my God ! to what a miserable state is the human 
heart reduced through the artifices of these ministers of 
hell, even in the highest paths of grace ! The Vener- 
able Father John of the Cross, 1 a man of eminent 
sanctity, teaches us that even in those who are aspiring 
to perfection there is to be found a certain secret satis- 
faction in their own good works, a wish to give others 
lessons in the spiritual life, an itching desire to talk 
about it. The devils, says this great master of the way 
of perfection, prompt them to perform many of their 
good works from a motive of self-love. Sometimes 
they manifest their devotion by exterior demonstra- 
tions, such as gestures or sighs, and are too ready to 
talk of their virtues, though even in the confessional 
it is with difficulty they can get themselves to make a 
simple declaration of their faults. At times they make 
little account of their sins ; at others they grieve for 
them to excess. They are reluctant to praise others, 
and are too glad to be praised themselves. They are 
never satisfied with the gifts and graces of God, or 
with the counsels and directions they receive, or the 
books they read. They take up curious practices of de- 
votion. When they do not enjoy sensible sweetness in 
prayer, they are angry with themselves and with others. 
1 St John of the Cross, canonised 1726. 



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They declaim against the vices of others with an in- 
temperate zeal, and rebuke them in the same impatient 
spirit. They would wish to become saints in a day, 
and their desires of perfection are so purely natural and 
so imperfect, that the more good resolutions they make 
the more faults they commit. They seek after sensible 
pleasure in their devotional exercises, and take to prac- 
tising excessive austerities, which they sometimes con- 
ceal from their directors; or, again, they will argue 
with their spiritual fathers, and try to bring them over 
to their views. They relax their endeavours, and give 
way to sadness, when contradicted, and believe that all 
is going ill with them when they are denied their little 
practices of devotion. They think the ways by which 
they are being led are not understood, when any oppo- 
sition is made to their views. They would have God 
do their will ; hence they readily believe that what is 
not to their taste is not according to the will of God. 
They envy the spiritual good of their neighbour, and 
are troubled when they see themselves outstripped in 
the ways of grace. In fine, they have no love for the 
cross and pure mortification, for complete abnegation 
and annihilation of self. 

Not but that the devils sometimes avail themselves of 
sufferings, tempting souls who they foresee will not make 
a good use of them to long for crosses ; or urging them to 
take them upon themselves, because, not being of God's 
disposal, they will easily sink under the weight of them ; 
or, again, they will induce them to augment such 
crosses as come to them in the order of God's provi- 
dence. For instance, God sends some mental suffering 
which ought to be borne with patience and resignation : 
they will induce the persons thus afflicted to contem- 
plate their sufferings, to reflect too much upon them, 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



and thus to aggravate their own misery. As they 
throw a veil over the evil which resides in unlawful 
pleasures, so they conceal from men the good which 
sufferings contain ; they allow men to perceive only 
what is painful in them, for the purpose of tempting 
them to impatience, weariness, despair, and murmuring 
against the leadings of God's providence. They exert 
all their powers to cast souls into a state of despond- 
ency, leading them to regard their evils as irremedi- 
able, and to look only at this present life, and so 
urging them to desperation. They even harass souls 
with painful temptations with respect to God, torment- 
ing them with suggestions against faith, or with fears 
of their own reprobation, or with doubts as to whether 
they have consented to sin ; confusing the imagination 
and leaving the mind disquieted, from uncertainty as 
to whether consent has been given to the temptation 
or not ; raising in people's consciences scruples with 
regard to their confessions, which they fancy they have 
never properly made ; persuading persons to make fresh 
general confessions unadvisedly, and often to repeat 
their ordinary ones through fear of not having men- 
tioned everything, or of not having been sufficiently 
explicit, thus keeping the soul in a state of anguish 
for, as these spirits are themselves devoid of all hope, 
and in a perpetual state of unrest and unutterable dis- 
quietude, the effects they produce are akin to their own 
wretched condition. Wherever they approach they 
cause trouble, despondency, sadness, and confusion; 
and, if they cannot make men the companions of their 
misery hereafter, they endeavour at least to make them 
share their wretchedness in the present life ; and again, 
they harass us with contradictions from without, exciting 
our relations, our Mends, and such as are under obliga- 



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tions to us, to provoke us, as we see in the case of Job's 
wife, at the same time representing to our imagination 
their ingratitude and injustice. 

Sometimes, by God's permission, they take possession 
of the imagination of good people, even to such a degree 
as to make them see things quite differently to what 
they really are, thus rendering unavailing everything 
that can be said or done to undeceive them. That holy 
man, Father John of the Cross, was imprisoned by the 
religious of his Order, and strangely ill-treated ; he was 
even stripped of his religious habit, as one who was 
incorrigible. Men wonder at seeing so great a servant 
of God treated after this manner by good men, but we 
have no reason to be surprised : God, designing to make 
him a man of suffering, permitted the devil to try him 
cruelly ; and to this end these lying spirits made the 
religious who tormented him look upon him only as a 
disobedient person, who was wanting in the spirit of 
submission ; and there seemed to be some ground for 
this opinion : for in a Chapter of the Order which had 
been held, several distinguished religious, men high in 
authority, and considerable for their learning and per- 
sonal merits, had decided that Father John of the 
Cross should not proceed any further with the matter 
begun : thus he was regarded as a rebel. People did 
not fail to say that his designs, however good they 
might be, ought to be abandoned, since he had been 
forbidden to think any longer of them ; that, moreover, 
he was a person devoid of discretion, calculated only to 
attract public attention, and create much confusion in the 
Carmelite Order, by reason of his imprudent and head- 
long zeal. No attention was paid to anything alleged 
on the contrary part; and this, indeed, was clearly 
apparent in the last persecution to which he was sub- 



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jected on his death-bed from the Prior of the house 
where he, lay sick. This Prior, though one of the re- 
formed religious, and that too at the beginning of as 
holy a reform as ever took place, at a time also when 
the first-fruits of the renewed perfection of this holy 
Order were most rich and abundant, put an evil inter- 
pretation on all the actions of the man of God, and 
became thereby to him the cause of the severest trials. 
It is wonderful to find his Provincial visiting this 
monastery, and doing all in his power, both by his 
authority and by argument, to soften the mind of the 
Prior, yet in vain : the devil who possessed his imagin- 
ation kept it filled with illusions which made him see 
things quite otherwise than what they were. At last, 
some little time before the man of God expired, the 
devil having withdrawn, the superior was seized with a 
sudden astonishment at what he had done : yet nothing 
new had occurred, all was as before, only the devil had 
departed. 

The smallest imperfections give great advantage to 
these apostate spirits. The slightest things, as it is 
truly observed in the Life of St John Chrysostom, 
lately published, suffice to furnish them with an occa- 
sion for exciting violent passions against those who are 
combating them by labouring to restore primitive strict- 
ness of life and manners. These princes of darkness 
avail themselves of the most trifling acts of a faithful 
servant of God to provoke and foment a fierce opposi- 
tion against him, blackening things the most innocent. 
In the days of persecution, bishops and priests died in 
defence of the faith ; but now that the Church is in 
peace, bishops and priests can no longer be persecuted 
save for maintaining strictness of discipline. The devils 
do for the imagination what certain mirrors do for the 



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eyes : they magnify appearances, and can make atoms 
look like high mountains. , 

They make things seem, as we have said, quite dif- 
ferent to what they truly are, like those glasses which 
change the colour of the objects seen through them. 
They present very false notions of true devotion, making 
it appear to consist in what it does not, — that is to say, 
in particular practices, inward lights and sensible move- 
ments ; and making it not to appear where it really is, — 
that is to say, in a firm resolve to do the will of God 
in all things, and in the manner He wills. They per- 
suade men of the world that devotion is fitted only for 
the cloister, and represent it in such a light as to make 
it seem impossible for them to practise it. All their 
artifices tend to make it look unattainable to per- 
sons living in the world, that they may put the very 
thought of it out of their minds ; or they represent it 
under so frightful an aspect that they have not the 
courage to embrace it ; or they impute to it the defects 
of those who profess it, in order to decry it. 

As their own nature is all malice, they insinuate a 
malicious tendency into the minds of men, making them 
see something evil in the most holy actions, and in- 
clining them to put a bad interpretation on the acts of 
others : all which is the very opposite to true charity, 
which thinks well of every one, and when it cannot 
approve the action, at least excuses the intention. It 
is one of the commonest faults in the world to be slow 
• to believe what is good, and ready to think what is eviL 
If we can find nothing to blame in a life, the virtuous 
tenor of which looks like a reproach to ourselves, we 
direct our attacks against the interior, and, invading 
the very recesses of the heart, which is known to God 
only, we charge it with hypocrisy and dissimulation 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS, 



St Teresa relates that the Holy Lady of Cardona spoke 
readily of her graces, and was very frank in mentioning 
her virtues, and she regards this conduct as that of a 
soul who looked to God alone, without considering self : 
another would have condemned it as proceeding from 
vanity, and would have suspected this virtuous lady of 
seeking the esteem of creatures. 

Father Caussin, in his " Holy Court," reflecting upon 
this truth, that we ought to be very cautious in pass- 
ing judgment upon the actions of our neighbour, after 
having highly extolled the conduct of the great St 
Francis de Sales, remarks, that a critical spirit would 
have seen much in it at which it might take exception. 
For instance, says this eloquent author, the Saint testifies 
that the recollection of Madame de Chantal, of glorious 
memory, is so dear to him, that he often recurs to it, 
and thinks of her with affection, and that even at the 
holy altar. A censorious spirit might be scandalised at 
the imagination of a holy man being thus occupied 
with the remembrance of a woman ; and yet in him it 
was a movement of grace. On the other hand, we read 
of saints who begged of God that they might never re- 
member, even in their prayers, the women who had re- 
commended themselves to them. Their particular grace 
led them to act thus ; but the ways of the Holy Spirit 
of God in the conduct of His saints differ so widely that 
they are an inscrutable abyss to poor human reason. 

When the devils foresee that great spiritual assist- 
ance is preparing for souls, or that special benedictions 
are about to be showered on a city, a diocese, or a pro- 
vince, they raise fierce persecutions against those whom 
God designs to employ for this purpose ; they use every 
means to calumniate them, and to inspire people with 
a horror of them ; and not only do they assail those 



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who are employed in public ministrations, but they 
persecute such as lead the most retired and solitary life, 
when they observe in them any extraordinary virtue ; 
for, says St Teresa, these souls never go alone to heaven 
— they save and sanctify a great number of persons 
by their prayers and by their union with God. We 
have seen in our days a religious of the Discalciated 
Carmelites leading a most solitary life on Mount Car- 
mel, imitating those ancient Fathers who retired into 
the wildest deserts, that he might spend some time in 
complete separation from the society of men. The 
rage of the devils against this servant of God is some- 
thing quite marvellous to read of. 

If they apprehend that the genuine piety of some 
chosen soul, and the extraordinary graces with which 
Heaven has endowed it, will be productive of much 
fruit in the Church, they will labour to put some de- 
luded creature forward, making this miserable being 
pass for a saint, and then they will expose the delusion, in 
order to lead men to the conclusion that they who are 
truly moved by the Spirit of God are deceivers like- 
wise, and thus hinder the good which they might have 
effected. If they see devotion taking firm root in a 
country, through the solid practice of the frequent use 
of the sacraments, the exercise of prayer and union with 
God, they will cause some of those who make profession 
of devotion to fall into certain faults, and they will 
then raise a cry against frequent communion, against 
prayer, and other exercises of piety ; they will throw 
ridicule on the devout, and exert their power to the 
utmost to oppose the designs of God. O my Lord ! 
exclaims the seraphic Teresa, how does it move one 
to pity ! If a soul is deceived in the ways of prayer, 
people exclaim and raise a great outcry, and men do 



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74 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



not perceive that for one who goes astray from praying 
amiss, thousands of souls are lost from the neglect of 
prayer. The pious Louis of Grenada, in his "Memorial," 
devotes a chapter to showing that it is often a great 
mistake to cry out so much against the abuse of fre- 
quent communion ; not but that we should condemn such 
abuse, and have a horror of it ; but we fail to observe, 
says this learned master of the spiritual life, that, under 
the pretext of some abuses which occur, we not only 
hinder the great progress of holy souls in virtue, by the 
frequent use of communion, but also, which is of the 
highest importance, much glory which would redound 
to God. Our Lord revealed to St Gertrude that those 
who prevented frequent communion, robbed Him of 
His delight. St Thomas teaches that daily commu- 
nion was matter of precept in the first centuries. The 
holy Council of Trent expresses a wish for the restora- 
tion of this practice. It is the duty of confessors to 
examine the state of those who receive holy commu- 
nion every day, that they may not make a bad use of 
it ; but to disapprove a practice which was so habitual 
in the primitive Church, and which the last General 
Council desired, if possible, to restore, can but proceed 
from the hatred which the spirits of hell have conceived 
against this Mystery of Love. 

A great servant of God has wisely observed, that 
there are certain persons in whom the devils seem to 
entrench themselves as in a fortress, and by whose 
means they render their temptations the more danger- 
ous. There are persons whose very presence disposes 
to impurity, while there are others who inspire feelings 
of revenge, or again, of vanity. The devils lodge 
themselves in the eyes of some ; in their hair, in their 
hands, and make everything about them fascinating — 



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their voice, their words, the expression of their eyes, 
their gestures — so that it is difficult not to be seduced 
by them. People are sometimes surprised at seeing 
miserable men attach themselves to very ordinary 
women, deserting for them wives who are both beauti- 
ful and pleasing. This often happens through the secret 
artifices of the devils, who invest wretched beings, who 
naturally ought to inspire aversion, with a charm to 
ensnare hearts. A sick man at the point of death was 
in a state of great peace ; one of his friends, a heretic, 
entered his room to pay him a visit; at the same 
moment he felt himself greatly tempted against the 
faith. The devils, who had no vantage-ground from 
whence to attack this poor sick man, found in this 
heretic a fortress, as it were, from which to direct their 
assaults upon him. I was told this by the late M. Le 
Gauffre, the worthy successor of Father Bernard, of 
glorious memory ; and the circumstance is well worthy 
of notice, that we may take heed what company we 
keep, and not give place to the devils to tempt us, par- 
ticularly at the hour of death. Let us here observe, 
that as the devils make violent assaults upon us by 
means of those who are in their power, so also the 
Spirit of God gives us great assistance by means of 
those souls which He fills with His presence. The 
blessed Angela of Foligni, when performing some jour- 
ney of devotion, was favoured with extraordinary gifts ; 
and our gracious Saviour revealed to her, that if she 
had chosen any other companion than the one who 
travelled with her, who was a person of much virtue, 
she would have been deprived of all these graces. 
Nothing is more pernicious than conversation with the 
wicked, nothing more profitable than intercourse with 
the good. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



In fine, the great havoc which these accursed spirits 
make is by the establishment of heresy. For this end 
they have recourse to all their artifices; beginning 
with things which at first are not calculated to excite 
so much alarm. They instigated Luther to cry out 
against Indulgences ; but they made him commence by 
declaiming against the abuse of Indulgences and of cere- 
monies, and then by degrees they got at the faith. 

St Teresa taught that great courage is required in 
spiritual warfare ; and this is very true, since our enemies 
are not only terrible in their strength, cruel in their rage, 
and inconceivably formidable in their stratagems, but 
they are indefatigable in pursuit ; they are ever lying 
in wait to surprise us; they watch for our destruc- 
tion while we sleep. " Our enemies," says St Augustine, 
" are ever on the alert to work our ruin, and we are 
ever forgetful of our salvation." They watch without 
ceasing to make us die an eternal death, and we are 
ever slumbering when our very salvation is at stake. 
The necessities of eating and sleeping, and other bodily 
cares with which we are burdened, never diminish their 
activity, seeing that they share them not. They are 
always under arms day and night, and during the whole 
course of our life, never laying them down. If they 
appear occasionally to leave us at peace, or to grant a 
short truce, it is only that they may fight against us at 
more advantage, and renew the combat with greater 
violence and more success. 

Moreover, they are pure spirits, as swift as thought, 
penetrating everywhere, pursuing us everywhere; no- 
thing remains closed against them. In vain may you 
shut and bar your doors, and lock your rooms and your 
closets, ingress is still as free to them ; and as they are 
invisible, they assail you unperceived ; they strike, and 



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you behold no one; they are beside you meditating 
your ruin, and you know it not ; their weapons are in- 
visible : hence you may judge how difficult it is to 
defend ourselves against them. All this time they 
tempt us ; and Cassian tells us that the Fathers of the 
Desert knew by experience that they were most 
strongly tempted at the most holy times, as, for example, 
during the holy season of Lent. 

These attacks become more violent in proportion as 
our love of God increases. From the moment we begin 
to serve Him, we must prepare for temptation. Nor 
ought this to astonish us, for now it is that war is 
openly declared ; hitherto they had given themselves 
little trouble, for the soul was already their sla-ve. The 
saints often find themselves on the very edge of the 
precipice, through the violence of their temptations. It 
is the saints, says Cassian, who are often the most tempted 
by the desires of the flesh. That infernal Pharao loads 
with burdens those who endeavour to escape from his 
cruel thraldom. There is no spot on earth where we 
are exempt from this warfare. Our very churches, and 
the most holy places, do not preserve us from it ; they 
insinuate themselves everywhere. In solitude they 
caused poor Loth to fall into impurity, who had pre- 
served himself chaste in the midst of a town wholly 
filled with monstrous licentiousness. There is no period 
of life which protects us from their assaults. An 
eminent and holy solitary, who resisted their tempta- 
tions in his youth, choosing rather to allow his body to 
be burned in material fire than to abandon his soul to 
the fire of impurity, and thus had successfully withstood 
the shameless assault of a woman who laid snares for 
his virtue, allowed himself, at the age of sixty, to be 
vanquished by his tempters, through the instrumentality 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



of a woman possessed by them. Let us pause briefly 
to consider this example, and let us tremble as we do 
so. A young man, who in the flower of his age had 
won such glorious triumphs, permits himself to be con- 
quered, and that in old age, after so much fasting and 
mortification, with a body consumed by great austeri- 
ties : after so many victories achieved during a long 
course of years, after a heavenly life, so many extraor- 
dinary gifts, so many miraculous graces, he allows him- 
self to be overcome by a woman who was possessed, 
which in itself should have filled him with horror ; and 
that, too, after having expelled the devil out of her body. 

One of their endeavours is to weary us by the length 
of the contest ; and experience sufficiently attests that 
men will give way at last, after having resisted a long 
time. A soul will persevere faithfully in its exercises, 
in spite of all the disgust and repugnance with which it 
may perform them, although it experiences no sensible 
feeling of devotion, and goes through them laboriously 
and painfully ; and at last it will suddenly be overcome 
with weariness, and will yield to the temptation. It will 
submit itself to the good advice given to it, and will 
observe with inviolable fidelity the commands laid upon 
it j yet in the end it will follow its own devices, and 
give itself up to its own notions and inclinations. 
When these wretched spirits perceive that they can 
obtain no advantage, they go for reinforcements ; they 
take with them other demons, still more powerful and 
malicious, and, returning to the charge, often succeed 
in vanquishing those who had previously triumphed 
over them. 

Besides all this, their number is beyond conception. 
St Bernard says that the devils, who are the apes of the 
Divinity, make a division of their forces, so that every 



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man may have a bad angel, even as he has a good one. 
St Gregory of Nyssa is of the same opinion. St Anthony 
often said that millions of devils roamed over the earth. 
St Hilarion, his disciple, asserted the same thing, and 
referred, in confirmation of it, to the Gospel history, 
whence we learn that one single man was possessed by 
a " legion " of them, that is to say, by six thousand six 
hundred and sixty-six. The glorious St Dominic de- 
livered an unhappy man from fifteen thousand devils, 
who had entered his body in punishment for the scoffs 
he had uttered against the fifteen mysteries of the 
Bo8ary. This is well worthy of the consideration of 
those who sneer at associations established by lawful 
authority; but anyhow let us reflect what a host of 
enemies are banded together for the ruin of one single 
man. St Jerome, commenting on the sixth chapter of the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, declares that it is the general 
opinion of theologians that the air is filled with these 
invisible enemies. 

Now if this be so, let us consider with a little atten- 
tion the dangers to which we are exposed, having such 
enemies to contend with ; and let us at the same time 
reflect what we ourselves are, who have to fight against 
such forces. We live in the midst of darkness, and 
even in the full daylight of grace we fail to see, being 
blinded by our passions. We walk in places where 
eternal precipices abound, and upon paths so slippery, 
that the holiest find it a hard matter to keep from fall- 
ing ; we are ignorant of the road we should take, and, 
as St Bernard says, we readily choose that which leads 
to hell ; they whom we meet are as blind and ignorant 
as we are, and, instead of aiding to bring us out of our 
false ways, serve only to lead us on therein to our ruin. 
In ourselves we are weakness itself, pierced on all sides 



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80 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



with mortal wounds. O my God ! O my God ! in such 
a deplorable condition, who shall escape ? Alas ! O 
men, what are we thinking of when we live in forget- 
fulness of these frightful perils ? Is it, then, possible 
that these truths should be indubitable, and yet that we 
should give them so little serious reflection ] Surely a 
spell must be upon us, that, having eyes, we see not, 
having ears, we hear not, and having feet, we yet remain 
motionless, when Eternity is at stake : we see, we hear, 
we move only for this present life. 

It is because of this blindness and insensibility that 
the greater part of men become the prey of devils. If 
we would but let ourselves be guided by the light and 
movements of grace, unable as we are to do anything of 
ourselves, we could do all things in Him who is our 
strength. 1 It is in His might that we must courageously 
resist the power of the devils, who, like to crocodiles, 
fly from those who pursue them, and pursue those who 
fly from them. " Resist the devil," so teaches the 
Divine Word (Jas. iv. 7), "and he will fly from you." It 
is true that our strength is altogether unevenly matched 
with his, but the power of Jesus Christ supplies for our 
weakness. The great St Anthony affirmed, that since 
the coming of Christ we may vanquish the devil as we 
would a sparrow, and break his power as if it were so 
much straw. 

We must place all our confidence, then, in Jesus 
Christ and His holy Cross, and in the protection of His 
Blessed Mother, who has crushed the head of this 
wretched serpent ; and we must make use of the sacra- 
ments, of holy water, of holy images, to bring to nought 
all his efforts, keeping ourselves always, on the other 
hand, in the practice of humility, a virtue which is all- 
1 Phil. iv. 13. 



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powerful to frustrate the temptations of hell, but with- 
out which all the other virtues will avail but little 
against its assaults. St Anthony, of whom I have just 
spoken, when he had a vision of the world filled with 
snares, and saw a devil, whose head touched the stars, 
carrying off the greater part of souls as his prey, was 
penetrated with grief, and, crying out aloud, the holy 
man exclaimed, " Who, then, shall be able to escape these 
traps, and from the hands of this infernal monster ? " 
To which a voice from heaven replied, " Anthony, 
humility shall do this." This virtue must be accom- 
panied with an entire distrust of ourselves. If we put 
any confidence in our own strength, in our experience, 
our discretion, our resolutions, we are lost ; sooner or 
later we shall infallibly perish : and we must be greatly 
on our guard against a secret self-reliance, which is some- 
times imperceptible to ourselves ; it appears to us that 
when we have gone through certain devotional exercises 
the victory is gained, and then our Lord permits us to 
fall grievously. 

There are some souls who see clearly enough certain 
imperfections, which they detest; they groan, they 
strive, and yet they cannot conquer them : this is, said 
that holy man, Father de Condren, because these souls 
have not as yet thoroughly learned their weakness, their 
insufficiency, their helplessness. Mistrust in ourselves 
ought to be followed by fear. " Fear the Lord," it is 
written (Ps. xxxiii. 10), " all ye His saints." If the 
saints must work out their salvation with trembling, 
what ought sinners to do 1 One thief near the Cross is 
saved ; another equally near is lost. God pardons one 
of His disciples who denied Him; He condemns another 
who betrayed Him. There is a Heaven, but there is also 
a HelL Some have truly repented at the hour of death ; 



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82 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



thousands and thousands have died in sin. In fine, the 
most brilliant lights of the Church have been seen to 
suffer an eclipse ; men who were as angels upon earth 
have, at the last moment of their life, precipitated them- 
selves into hell by a movement of pride ; pillars of the 
Church have been shaken and overthrown ; they who 
had brought to others the pure light of faith have fallen 
into heresy; saints have become devils. 

For this cause we should stand strictly on our guard, 
and give no place to temptation, by avoiding all those 
occasions which might lead us into it " Watch and 
pray," says the Divine Word (Matt, xxvi 41), "lest you 
enter into temptation." It does not say lest temptation 
enter into you, but lest you enter into temptation. 
When it is by God's dispensation that we find ourselves 
in peril, we shall, by the help of His divine assistance, 
escape ; but if it is of our own seeking that we are in- 
volved in it, we shall perish. Joseph's temptation was 
far stronger than that of David : Joseph was young, 
David was old; Joseph was pursued by the caresses 
and threats of a woman who importuned him inces- 
santly, David was pursued by no one. The chastity of 
Joseph was assaulted by a woman who was his mistress; 
by resisting her he ran the risk of his life ; by giving 
the reins to passion he might attain to a great temporal 
fortune. David was a king ; he had nothing to fear 
and nothing to expect, save the remorses of his con- 
science. David was more advanced in the spiritual life, 
and he was the man according to God's own heart 
Nevertheless, David was vanquished by temptation, and 
Joseph resisted ; and this was because David exposed 
himself to the temptation, while Joseph met with the 
danger while acquitting himself of his duty in the order 
of God's providence. The Three Children were delivered 



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from the furnace of Babylon, and Peter from the peril 
of the waters ; but should you throw yourself into fire 
or into water, you would be burned or drowned. If 
you are of a bilious temperament, why do you not shun 
the occasions of anger ? If you feel disposed to love, 
why do you not discreetly avoid the company of women? 
You lose your temper at play, why then do you not 
renounce gaming 1 You are full of distractions when 
you pray in places not sufficiently retired, why then do 
you not choose such as are more appropriate ? St 
Ignatius, the founder of the Company of Jesus, was 
favoured with the privilege of suffering no distractions 
in time of prayer ; but it behoved him, on his part, to 
do what in him lay. When he failed to withdraw 
himself far enough from the world and from its noise, 
he no longer enjoyed this grace. 

Be prompt also in resisting temptation. The same 
saint said that the serpent easily draws in his body where 
he has insinuated his head. The negligence with which 
you resist temptation gives great hold to your enemies. 
They greatly fear those souls who resist their attacks 
from the very first, because they perceive that these 
attacks serve but to win crowns for them. If a burning 
coal were to fall on your dress, would you not instan- 
taneously, and with the greatest expedition possible, 
shake it off on the ground 1 and however short a time 
you might allow it to rest on your clothes, would they 
not be injured by it ? Although the negligence may 
not be fully voluntary, from the advertence of the mind 
not being entire, it is still a venial sin ; and one single 
venial sin gives a strange power to the devil to tempt 
us. When the exorcists of the possessed at Marseilles 
had committed the most trifling little fault, they were 
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hand, when we have promptly repulsed temptation the 
devils are afraid of returning, and their strength is 
weakened. We must never deliberate : a town which 
parleys is all but taken. The very moment we perceive 
the sin, or the occasion of sin, we must break off, we 
must go away ; we must suffer anything rather than 
dwell upon it. 

In combats where chastity is concerned we must con- 
quer by flight. Do not stay considering the temptation ; 
fly as fast as you can. Temptations against purity have 
charms for the senses, which catch you if you look at 
them. In temptations against faith we must never 
reason ; " we must fly," said St Francis de Sales, " by 
the door of the will, and not by that of the understand- 
ing. Beware of going in search of arguments to con- 
quer these sorts of temptations. Dispute not with the 
devil, he is too clever for you ; you will never disen- 
tangle yourself from the difficulties he will present." 
The holy Bishop whom we have just quoted relates that, 
this spirit of subtilty and malice suggested to him so 
powerful an objection against the Presence of our Lord 
in the Eucharist, that, without a special succour of grace, 
he had been lost. This is why this incomparable pre- 
late would never mention what the difficulty was which 
formed the matter of his temptation, for fear it might 
cause the loss of some soul. 

In other interior sufferings we must abandon ourselves 
entirely to God, and avoid all voluntary reflection upon 
them. We cannot prevent the imagination from being 
assailed by them ; but we ought to bear them with 
patience, and not minister to or aggravate them by 
willingly dwelling on them. They usually incline per- 
sons to reverie, and this they should avoid, occupying 
themselves in some quiet way, that they may give the 



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least possible place to them. An exaggerated appre- 
hension of them imprints their images more strongly on 
the mind, and, in the case of temptations to impurity, 
the senses are consequently more excited. 

In sufferings arising from scruples or other disquie- 
tudes, the remedy is, not to abide by your own judgment, 
but to take advice of some person of experience in 
these ways (for there are eminent directors who have 
do knowledge of them), one also who is learned and 
gifted with decision, and to refer the matter to his 
opinion, whether it be question of not reiterating gen- 
eral confessions, although you may yourself believe you 
have need of so doing, or of not continuing to accuse 
yonrself of certain faults or doubts ; for, after all, the 
order which God has established in His Church is that 
we should be directed, not immediately by Himself, but 
by means of those whom He has called to the sacred 
functions of the priesthood. A person who, acting 
against his conscience, should commit a sin which he 
judged to be mortal, although in fact it was only a 
venial fault, would doubtless, supposing he acted with 
full deliberation, be guilty of a grievous sin; but if, 
notwithstanding his own opinion of the enormity of the 
fault, he should put it aside, out of submission to the 
judgment of his director, who is more enlightened and 
better skilled to discriminate between sin and sin, he 
would assuredly be right in so doing. But, you will 
say, he is going against his conscience. True, but then 
it is a conscience in error, and he follows the rules of 
a conscience rightly informed, that of the director. 
Neither should we trouble ourselves because the idea 
occurs to us that we have not explained ourselves with 
sufficient clearness, or that the director does not fully 
understand our state (temptations common to almost 



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all who suffer in this way), nor perplex ourselves as to 
whether our sufferings are the consequence of our sins ; 
for, after having renounced our faults, it is expedient 
that we should bear the penalty of them in peace. 
The pains of Purgatory are certainly the penalties and 
chastisements of sin ; but does this prevent the souls 
subjected to them from bearing them with tranquillity, 
and a perfect resignation to the decrees of God ? 

In sufferings from temptations to blasphemy or the 
idea of reprobation, we ought quietly to avoid voluntary 
reflections thereon ; and at these times a general con- 
sideration of our Lord is more advisable in prayer than 
a special meditation upon the mysteries, because the 
temptation is maintained and increased by a distinct 
consideration of the truths of faith. Above all, we 
must be careful not to give way to discouragement, 
whatever faults we may commit Were you to fall a 
hundred times in the course of a day you must rise again 
a hundred times. Would it not be absurd in a man to 
remain lying in the middle of a street, in the mire and 
dirt, because he had happened to fall down several 
times 1 Let us indeed humble ourselves for our faults, 
and feel regret on account of them, but never let us be 
discouraged by them. This is a universal maxim; 
weariness and impatience are the cause of much evil 
Let us learn to bear with ourselves in our defects, wait- 
ing with patience for the Lord to help us. Too much 
eagerness to attain perfection is a hurtful temptation, 
for we often desire it from self-love. Our pride makes 
us wish to see ourselves speedily perfect, and leads us 
to be astonished when we fall, which is all that of our- 
selves we can do. " The just man," says the Apostle 
(Rom. L 17), " liveth by faith :" this is the great and 
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according to tastes, sensible experiences, or, on the other 
band, by feelings of dryness and heaviness ; but walk 
by faith, which will show you that God ought to be 
equally served and adored in the time of tribulation as 
in that of consolation ; thus you will faithfully perse- 
vere in your spiritual exercises, without considering 
your repugnances or inclinations in the matter. Neither 
again will you be deceived if led by extraordinary ways, 
which are often the cause of much loss of time to direc- 
tors, who have to discern whether the graces in question 
come from the Spirit of God, from the devil, or from 
the imagination, and frequently they are mistaken. 

Those servants of God who concluded that St 
Teresa's extraordinary graces were illusions, because of 
sundry imperfections they noticed in her, were them- 
selves deceived. " We draw a wrong inf erence," says 
the learned Bishop who has written the life of the Saint, 
" when we conclude that the gifts we perceive in a soul 
come not from the Spirit of God because that soul is 
imperfect, for they are sometimes bestowed in order to 
free it from its imperfections. If a soul, whatever in- 
terior words it may hear, or whatever vision it may 
behold, rests only on pure faith, leaving these things 
for what they may be worth, it will never swerve from 
truth : if they are the work of the devil, he will only 
reap shame and mortification thereby ; if of the Spirit 
of God, He will operate in the soul, independently of 
its attention or reflections." The practice of having pic- 
tures in our churches was introduced by the Spirit of 
God, and he who should blame this practice would be a 
heretic. Nevertheless, were we to stop short at the 
image, instead of passing on from the image to that 
which it represents, doubtless we should greatly err. 
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are but figures or images of the Divinity, they are not 
God Himself, and the Spirit of God accords them to us 
only in order to raise us to Him. Now, as faith is the 
closest means of union with God, we should abide by 
that. In fine, an entire and perfect abandonment to 
the Divine will with regard to all things and in all 
things, without any special desire, is the great secret 
for overcoming temptations. We must remember that 
we ought not to attach ourselves to the means which 
lead to God, however excellent they may be, nor to 
any practice, however good, but take it up and leave it 
according as it is fitting that we should do either one 
or the other, for all these means are not God, in whom 
alone we ought constantly to rest as our one only end. 

Before concluding this subject, I am desirous to point 
out a common but dangerous temptation, which renders 
almost all our actions either profitless or imperfect : it 
is that the devil labours to make us be occupied with 
anything but what we are about. If you are engaged 
in prayer, he will make you think of some good action 
you have to perform : when you are performing this 
action, he will occupy your mind with some other ; and 
thus you are always thinking of something you are not 
doing, and never think well of your actual employ- 
ment, or only give half your thoughts to it. Now, 
each moment has its own special blessing; do well 
whatever you are doing ; and that you may do it well, 
think of nothing else. The moment that is past is no 
longer yours ; the future is not yet come ; the present, 
therefore, is all you have. Here, then, is the devil's 
stratagem : by getting you not to attend to the present, 
and keeping you always rehearsing, as it were, for the 
future, he leaves you no moment really your own. 

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employments which are not suitable to your state. 
What good do you derive from letting your imagination 
run upon the life of a Carthusian, if your state is one 
of exterior occupations? And what is the use of 
Carthusians thinking of preaching or visiting hospitals, 
seeing that their call is to live the life of solitaries? 
We should do wonders, as we think, if we did those 
things which, however, we shall never do ; and we give 
no thought to performing well that which is our every- 
day duty. You are placed in a state where salvation 
is difficult, and in spite of yourself you must remain 
there. Lay it, then, seriously to heart that it is in 
this perilous state that you must work out your salva- 
tion, and do not waste your time in picturing to your- 
self other states of life on which you will never enter. 
Strive, however, in whatsoever condition you find your- 
self, to regulate your passions well ; and know that the 
least is capable of plunging you into a miserable state 
of blindness, such as will even render you incapable of 
profiting by advice : and for this reason, that our passions, 
deceiving us, make us see things quite different from 
what they are. Thus, with a view to taking counsel, 
we describe them as we conceive of them, and counsel 
is given us according to our description, by which 
means we are often in great error, even while following 
advice, and this through our own fault, so that we are 
without excuse before God. Now, it is through our 
passions, which they make use of, that the devils 
deceive us in our view of things, as we have already 
remarked. 

But the God of Heaven is more desirous of our sal- 
vation than hell is furiously bent on our destruction. 
As He thoroughly knows our powerlessness, in the 
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proportioned to our weakness ; and while hell is per- 
petually on the watch to work our ruin, His eyes are 
ever lovingly intent upon defending us. He sends us 
the blessed angels of His heavenly court, by an order 
of Providence which the Church styles " wonderful," 
to uphold us in the battles which we must fight against 
these powers, whose force would infallibly overwhelm 
us without so special a protection. " A man's soul," 
says St Bernard, " is sometimes thrown into such great 
disorder, his mind is overcome with such distressing 
weariness, his heart is oppressed with such excruciating 
anguish, his body is so greviously afflicted, and the 
besetting temptation is so urgent, that without a 
powerful help he would succumb. At such a time," 
continues this Father, " it needs the assistance of the 
angels : it needs the consolation of these spirits of 
Heaven ; in its present languid state it would be unable 
to walk; it is needful, then, that the angels should 
carry it in their arms. I hold as most certain that 
when the soul is in this condition, they support it, so to 
say, with both hands, bearing it so gently through all 
those perils which inspired it with most dread, that in 
some sort it feels them without perceiving them. We 
have to walk upon asps and basilisks; we have to 
tread under foot lions and dragons; how necessary, 
then, is it that we should have the angels for our mas- 
ters and guides! how needful it is that they should 
even carry us — us especially, who are like weak chil- 
dren ! But how easily do we traverse these dangerous 
roads when borne in their arms ! What do we fear ? 
They are faithful, they are wise, they are powerful : let 
us but follow them, and never separate ourselves from 
them. Whenever, therefore, you are suffering from 
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your good angel; say to him, 'My lord, save me, 
save me ! for I am on the point of being lost.' " 

These are the sentiments of this great Saint, and 
they sufficiently manifest to us both the necessity and 
the sweetness of the protection afforded by these 
amiable princes of Paradise. As kings put robbers to 
death in their dominions to preserve the property and 
*ives of their subjects, so do these glorious spirits de- 
stroy the power of the princes of hell, for the salvation 
of our souls and the glory of their Sovereign : thus it is 
said in Scripture (Tob. viii. 3 ; Apoc. vii. 1, xxii 2) 
that they bind the devils ; that is to say, they restrain 
their power. The hermit Moses was greatly tormented 
by temptations of the flesh; and having sought the 
Abbot Isidore, to lay his troubles before him, and 
obtain some remedy, this abbot caused him to behold a 
troop of devils under sensible forms, prepared to attack 
him more fiercely than ever, the sight of which greatly 
afflicted this servant of God; but little by little he 
showed him a much more numerous band of holy 
angels armed for his defence, saying to him, " Know, 
my son, that with the Prophet Eliseus (4 Kings vi 16) 
we must declare that we have more with us than against 
us ;" which so comforted him that he returned to his 
cell full of joy, and firmly resolved generously to resist 
all the assaults of the spirits of hell. I say the same 
thing to you, dear reader, after having spoken to you 
of the temptations of the devils, of their rage, of their 
power, of their stratagems, and of their multitude : we 
have more with us than against us. This truth is very 
sweet and well fitted to console us in all our troubles ; 
but I would beg you to meditate on it a little at your 
leisure. We hope to return to the subject, with God's 
assistance, when treating of the confidence we ought 



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to feel in the protection of the holy angels, of which 
we shall speak by and by. We will but add one word 
more. Know that a single devil, if God permitted it, 
would be able to destroy all the men on the face of 
the earth, were they all so many warriors armed cap-h- 
pie; but know also that one single angel of Heaven 
is stronger, in the power he receives from God, than 
all the devils united. Remember, moreover, that all 
these blessed angels keep watch in our defence with a 
goodness beyond all imagination, and that the devils 
have a wonderful fear of them, even more than they 
have of the Saints, always excepting Her who can 
admit of no comparison, the incomparable Mother of 
God : for this reason, that the good angels having 
fought generously for the cause of God against these 
apostates at the time of their rebellion, they have 
merited to acquire a peculiar empire over them. Add 
to which, the remembrance which the devils have that 
they once enjoyed the same power of attaining to glory, 
whence they have so miserably fallen, as also the 
sight of the blessedness which these possess, and of 
which they are themselves deprived, strangely torments 
them. 



NINTH MOTIVE. 

The Great Assistance which the Holy Angels affobd us at 
the hour op Death and after Death. 

If one of the greatest philosophers held that death was 
the most terrible of all terrible things, ignorant as he 
was of that which follows, what ought Christians to 
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revealed it ? When the mind seriously considers that 
upon that tremendous moment hangs the decision of a 
blessed or miserable eternity, that few, very few, re- 
ceive a favourable sentence, and that the greater num- 
ber are condemned for ever to the unrelenting flames of 
hell, we must be more than insensible not to feel our 
heart pierced through and through with the extremest 
terror. But do we indeed believe those words of the 
Son of God, which teach us that the way of life is very 
narrow, and that few are they who find it ? (Matt. vii. 
14.) Do we believe that fearful truth which He has 
revealed to us, that very few are saved ? 1 Do we re- 
flect that we are ever advancing, or rather say, running 
towards death, where we must experience the truth of 
these infallible but terrible words, you who read this, 
and I who write it ? What ! is it indeed true that 
" the just shall scarcely be saved ? " (2 Pet. iv. 18) — a 
thought which makes the most innocent souls tremble 
— and yet that the sinner may live in security, as if 
Paradise became his due at death, and that he had 
nothing to fear ? O my God and my Lord ! enter not 
into judgment with Thy poor servant, for in Thy 
Divine Presence no man shall be justified. 2 The holy 

1 The statement in the text is not to be understood as if it 
were undoubtedly a revealed truth that very few are saved. 
Such a statement or doctrine is simply an inference which may 
or may not be deducible from our Lord's words. For, to the 
question, " Are they few that are saved ?" He made no direct 
reply, but gave this practical exhortation, " Strive to enter by 
the narrow gate ; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and 
shall not be able " (Lnke xiii 23, 24). The reader will find the 
question debated by F. Rogacci, " Holy Confidence," chap. xxv. ; 
and by F. Faber, " The Creator and the Creature," Book IIL 
chap. iL, who also distinctly states the different opinions that 
have been held by theologians on the subject. 

* Pa. cxlii. 2. 



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Abbot Agathon, being at the point of death, was seized 
with extreme dread, and as his disciples, astonished, 
asked him if he had anything on his conscience which 
could give a reasonable cause for such apprehension, 
he replied, that, through the great mercy of our Lord, 
his conscience did not reproach him with anything, but 
that the judgments of God were very different from 
those of men. " All our justices," as Scripture teaches us 
(Isa. lxiv. 6), are but uncleanness when placed in the 
light of His divine purity. 

If, therefore, the holy angels afford us great succour 
at that dreadful hour, then it is that they give us clear 
proof that they are our true friends. The true friend 
is known in affliction, and when we are in a great state 
of abandonment. Now, what affliction is like to death, 
when it is question of losing all or gaining all, when 
all leave us, and that without exception : husbands 
their wives ; fathers and mothers their children ; the 
most faithful friends those who are dearest to them? 
No one bears us company to the tomb ; the soul passes 
alone into Eternity; the body goes alone into the 
sepulchre. Oh, what an awful solitude ! and how fit- 
ting it is that it should often form the occupation of 
our thoughts ! All the creatures of earth abandon us ; 
not one amongst them comes to take our part at the 
judgment-seat of God ; the closest friendships of this 
world end at death. It is the privilege of angelic love, 
that it should extend beyond death itself : thus we 
cannot repeat too often, that in love the angels are in- 
comparable. 

Our Lord has revealed that those souls which had a 
particular devotion to the holy angels during their 
lifetime, receive extraordinary assistance from them at 
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for it is then that our Lord, the God of the great Eter- 
nity, rewards the worthy reception of His ambassadors ; 
His honour is interested therein ; for the good or bad 
treatment which the ambassadors of a king receive is 
referred to his person, and theologians hold that an 
affront offered to an ambassador is a legitimate ground 
for war. Now, the holy angels are the ambassadors 
of the King of kings ; what, then, do they not deserve 
who have scarcely noticed them, have scarcely thought 
of them, have scarcely thanked them, and have even 
treated them with the greatest ingratitude, with the 
utmost contempt, rejecting their counsels, and inso- 
lently disregarding their remonstrances 1 0 my God, 
how many things will that moment of death reveal to 
us ! Blessed are those souls who, by their docility to 
the holy movements which these spirits of love have 
inspired, shall, by the love and devotion which they 
have shown to these charitable Intelligences, have pre- 
pared themselves to receive their special aid and the 
glorious reward of God ! 

After death, the holy angels present our souls be- 
fore the tribunal of God, and there defend our great 
eternal cause. Oh ! well will it be for us to have at 
that time such good and zealous advocates. They 
accompany us into glory overflowing with joy. They 
visit us in Purgatory, and render us there all imagin- 
able good offices which can be looked for from the 
most perfect and constant friendship. They console 
the suffering souls, but it is after their own angelic 
manner ; that is to say, with consolations altogether 
heavenly, to which all the joys of this world are only 
shadows, and mere phantoms ; they obtain their relief, 
cr their deliverance, by the prayers, Masses, alms, and 
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96 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS 

them ; and sometimes they even appear in visible shape, 
in order to urge them to do so, availing themselves of 
the species of our imagination to represent those who 
have been known to us, and this especially during sleep. 
In fine, the learned Suarez is of opinion, that at the day 
of judgment they will collect the ashes of those whose 
guardians they have been. Is it possible to conceive 
solicitude more loving or more faithful ? But why all 
this precious love expended on such wretched creatures, 
if it were not that in the creature they regard God only ? 



TENTH MOTIVE. 

Devotion to the Holy Angels is a Mark op a High 
Predestination. 

If our eyes were a little more open to eternal truths, 
our whole consolation would consist in the hope of 
being something hereafter in the glorious eternity. All 
that passes away is contemptible, and from the moment 
we know that a thing must have an end, whatever satis- 
faction it may afford us, whatever honour we may derive 
from it, we ought not to set much value on it. What 
has now become of those famous conquerors of the 
world, the Alexanders and the Caesars 1 Where now 
are their laurels and their crowns ? What remains to 
them of their triumphs and their victories ? Come, my 
soul, let us visit in spirit those dungeons of fire and of 
flames where they have been burning for so many cen- 
turies, and let us learn in this dismal receptacle of all 
misery what the riches, the pleasures, and the honours 
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things have passed away, and they have passed away 
with all these things. Nothing now remains to them 
thereof save gloomy despair and ceaseless raving, tor- 
ments which shall endure for ever, and which surpass 
all imagination. In truth, there is nothing that ought 
to affect us save that good and that evil which are 
eternal ; and well may we here weep over the blindness 
of men. 

The human heart is made for great things, and feels 
within it instinctive aspirations after greatness. Thus 
it is that men always covet something beyond what 
they possess. The common soldier would be a captain, 
the captain a general, the general would wish to be a 
prince, the prince would like to be a king, and a king 
would fain be the monarch of the whole earth, for it is 
a truth established by general induction applied to all 
classes of persons, that men always aspire to have 
something more than they possess, and to be something 
more than they are. It is only as respects Heaven and 
Eternity that their hearts are contented with such poor 
desires as are quite incredible. You will hear people 
say that they are perfectly satisfied to have the lowest 
place in Paradise. And, doubtless, even this would 
be a boon beyond our desert, who deserve only the 
lowest places in hell; but since our all-merciful God 
calls us to such exalted honours in a blessed Eternity, 
not to aspire generously after them implies the meanest 
spirit. " Be zealous for the better gifts : n so we are 
taught by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. xii. 31). If you love 
honour, say the Saints, seek with courage that which 
shall endure for ever. St Teresa and St Francis Borgia 
protested that to acquire one single additional degree 
of glory, they would have been content to burn in the 
fires of Purgatory until the day of judgment. These 

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enlightened souls knew well its value; they who are 
immersed in the flesh have not a glimpse of these 
things. 

But, it will be asked, are not the blessed all perfectly 
satisfied 1 Assuredly they all are so, but their joy is 
not equal. Two men have each a vessel full of jewels : 
the vessels of both may be said to be quite full ; but 
if the vessel of the one can contain only a thousand 
precious stones, while the vessel of the other holds a 
million, their fulness is not equal, and the difference 
of their value is very great ; in like manner all the 
blessed are fully satisfied, but the fulness of their 
satisfaction differs greatly. There is no comparison 
between the felicity of the Blessed Mother of God and 
that of the other saints. " As star differeth from 
star in glory, so also is the Kesurrection of the dead " 
(1 Cor. xv. 41). The great St Teresa, of whom we have 
just spoken, says that in a supernatural vision she was 
shown the difference between the glory of an angel of 
one of the higher choirs and that of an angel of an in- 
ferior order, and that the difference surpasses all con- 
ception. The spiritual doctor Thaulerus, labouring to 
convey some idea of it, says that there is more differ- 
ence between one of the blessed raised to the highest 
ranks of the empyrean and another who is not so 
exalted than there is between a king and a peasant. 
These magnificent elevations to which our holy vocation 
calls us, ought truly to animate our courage and to 
inspire us with generous longings for the honours of a 
glorious Eternity. But were there but this one only 
motive, that in our greater eternal glory God is more 
glorified eternally, surely a man must either renounce 
all claim to loving God, or he must exert himself to the 
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of delights. A soul filled with the pure love of God 
would be willing to suffer ten thousand deaths, and 
endure ten thousand martyrdoms, if thereby it could 
add a single degree to His glory, and that degree were 
to last only a single moment. But here it is question, 
not of one degree only, but perhaps of a million and a 
hundred million degrees of glory, and that to last for 
an eternity ; and yet people do not stir. How true it 
is that we love God and His sacred interests but little ! 
How true it is that we love ourselves better than we 
love God ! 

Now devotion to the angels contributes marvellously 
to the perfection of divine love, and consequently to 
the increase of the glory of Heaven. These spirits are 
living flames of pure love ; it is not possible to approach 
them often without taking fire and sharing their ardour. 
With the saints we become sanctified, with the angels 
we become all-angelic, that is to say, all-heavenly. It 
is the property of love to assimilate those persons who 
love each other. Now they cannot become like to us ; 
their purity is incorruptible. It is necessary, then, that 
we should become like to them. Their life has always 
been a life of pure love, and thus our union with them 
will obtain us a certain relation therewith. Their 
solicitude in our behalf procures us great graces from 
God, and they never weary of seeking the augmenta- 
tion of them, and of working in us, that, by the faith- 
ful use we make of them, our merits may increase 
every day more and more. They fashion us to perfec- 
tion ; they are the great masters of the spiritual life ; 
they educate us therein with love ineffable. What pro- 
ficiency should we not make under such direction, if we 
were better scholars ! When St Teresa was freed from 
her defects, and had entered on the pure ways of per- 



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100 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

flection, a heavenly voice said to her that she must no 
longer converse with men, but with angels. The con- 
versation of creatures here below throws great obstacles 
in the way of holiness ; that of the angels causes us to 
make admirable progress therein. 

But as holiness is rare, devotion to these heavenly 
spirits is rare also; and among the small number of 
those who are devout to them, scarcely any are to be 
met with whose devotion extends beyond the angels of 
the lowest choir. There are very few who excel in 
devotion to the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the other 
angels of superior hierarchies. We read, it is true, of 
a St Francis, of a St Elisabeth of Portugal, and of other 
holy persons who were admirably conspicuous for this 
devotion ; and so also they were great saints, and were 
established in the most perfect ways of holiness by the 
highest of the angelic bands ; as is seen in the person of 
the same St Francis, who received the sacred stigmata 
of our Lord through the ministration of a Seraph, and 
in that of St Teresa, whose heart was pierced with a 
wound of love by one of the most exalted Seraphim of 
Paradise. If we had a little pure love, it would be 
sufficient for us to know that, as God Only dwells in all 
the angels, so there is more of this God Only in those 
who are placed in the highest ranks. O God only, God 
only, God only ! 

— ♦ 

ELEVENTH MOTIVE. 

The Globt op the Most Holy Yibgin. 

For a heart which loves as it ought the most holy 
Mother of God, the promotion of her glory will be 



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no weak motive. We read in the writings of persons of 
unimpeachable veracity, that there have been sinners, 
and very wicked sinners, who, in their deplorable state, 
were nevertheless so sensitive to it, that they protested 
that they would willingly sacrifice their lives to the hon- 
our of her who is the Queen of the blessings and delights 
of Paradise ; and «these desires have drawn down upon 
them such benedictions, that at last they have obtained, 
through the intercession of the Mother of Mercy, a 
Christian death, by a complete conversion and a notable 
change of life. If souls, then, living in rebellion against 
the laws of God, are capable of being touched with a 
regard for the honour of the august Queen of Heaven, 
how much more readily must pure and innocent souls, 
who, moreover, have a special devotion to her, be in- 
fluenced by zeal for her sacred glory, a glory which she 
so justly deserves, and which we can never adequately 
render ! 

The angels, according to the testimony of St Bridget, 
from the very beginning of the world conceived so pure 
a zeal for the interests of this Queen of Paradise, that 
they rejoiced more in her future birth than in their own 
creation. How many persons in the progress of time, 
after the pattern of these blessed spirits, and through 
their powerful aid, have preferred the interests of the 
Mother of God to their own, her honour to their honour, 
her being to their own being ! I have known some who 
would have wished to possess a million of lives, that 
they might sacrifice them all to God for the glory of 
this incomparable Virgin ; who would have been content 
to remain until the day of judgment in the midst of the 
dreadful flames of Purgatory, if it could in the least 
degree conduce to her honour ; who with all their heart 
would have been willing to be annihilated a million of 



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102 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



times, if God thereby might be the more glorified. Truly 
a good heart never says, " It is enough," when it is ques- 
tion of the most pure Virgin — that is to say, within ttie 
limits of the order established by God. Ah ! we would, 
wish to do everything, give up everything, and suffer 
everything for the love of her ; and after all, we well 
know that this would be but very little for her who has 
merited to be the Mother of God. These truths leave me 
no room to doubt but that the motive of her glory must be 
one of the most powerful that can be employed to promote 
love and devotion to the holy angels. Here, then, O ye 
souls who are devout to this glorious Virgin, I invite 
you to be devout also to the holy angels. Her glory- 
is at stake : if you truly love her, this is to say all. 

The Divine Mother is the general of the armies of 
God, and the angels form the glorious troops : thus they 
are the soldiers of her who alone is terrible as a whole 
army in battle array ; and in the beginning they fought 
valiantly for her honour in opposition to Lucifer and 
the apostate angels, who would not submit themselves 
to her empire, God having revealed to them that she 
should one day be their sovereign. She is the august 
and triumphant Queen of Paradise ; the angels are those 
faithful and generous subjects who honoured her, as we 
have just now said, before she was in being, and who 
glory in being subject to the laws of her kingdom. She 
is the Lady of Angels, and is often invoked under this 
title of Our Lady of Angels : they are, then, her ser- 
vants, but such zealous servants that they await but the 
manifestation of her will to execute it, at its least sign, 
with a promptitude that is indescribable. She is even 
their friend: this is why in the Canticles (viii. 13) 
the Divine Spouse begs her to speak, and to make Him 
hear her voice, because, He says, "the friends are 



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103 



hearkening." Now these " friends " are the holy 
angels. We may say, moreover, that she is in some 
manner their Mother, and such is the opinion of many 
learned theologians. All these titles sufficiently show 
that the glory of this Queen, of this General, of this 
great and powerful Lady, is implicated in the consider- 
ation shown to her subjects, her soldiers, and her ser- 
vants. The love which she bears them, treating them 
as her faithful friends, and even as her children, calls 
upon us for every possible reason to love what she loves, 
and to entertain the profoundest respect for those whom 
she desires to be honoured. Let us, then, praise and 
bless the holy angels, because the most pure Virgin, 
the august Queen and Lady of Angels, is praised and 
blessed by them ; but, above all, let us praise and bless 
the Lord, who has made all that is great and worthy of 
praise, both in the Lady of Angels, and in the holy 
angels themselves ; and that is God only, God only, 
God only. 



TWELFTH MOTIVE. 
God only. 

When we have said God, we have said all, and nothing 
remains to be said, at least for pure love, whose whole 
pleasure it is to say it, and to say it alone. How 
should it say aught else, since it knows nothing else ? 
" For us," said heretofore one of the greatest saints of 
this pure love, the divine Paul, " henceforth we know 
no man" (2 Cor. v. 16) ; for it is the property of this 
love to take away the perception of all that is not God, 
or, if it leaves the knowledge of anything else besides, 



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104 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

it is only to behold it in its nothingness, in presence of 
this All-Adorable Being. Hence it is that he who is 
possessed with this pure love exclaims (Ps. lxxii. 25), 
" What have I in heaven or upon earth but Thee, O 
my God V 9 He has nothing on earth, he has nothing 
in heaven, because he has nothing but God only. Truly 
he thinks no more of pleasure, or reputation, or honour, 
or riches. He forgets natural goods, temporal goods, 
moral goods, spiritual goods, being filled only with the 
Sovereign Good. I will say more : he even loses the 
memory of himself ; for he sees himself in his nothing- 
ness, like all other things ; in the affairs of his salvation, 
in his soul, in Heaven, in Eternity, he sees only the 
God of his soul, the God of Heaven, the God of Eter- 
nity. In vain shall you speak to him of anything else, 
his heart is ever turned towards God alone. His heart 
and his flesh are, as it were, in a holy trance as regards 
all created things : God only, the God of his heart and 
his eternal portion, is his one only all. 

This is the state in which that Apostolic man was 
who declared (Gal. ii. 20) that he no longer lived, but 
that Jesus alone lived in him. The Holy Catherine of 
Genoa, whom one may call the Saint of the Divinity 
of Jesus Christ, could not even endure that word " me," 
that is to say, she could not in any manner regard her 
own interest. " O my God and my All !" said over and 
over again the humble St Francis ; and he spent nights 
and days in repeating these words of pure love. O 
sweet and savoury words ! as says the devout author of 
the " Imitation of Jesus Christ n (iii. 34), and it is a 
pleasure to repeat them ; for, indeed, it is most true, 
and a soul which loves purely will feel no doubt of its 
truth : Pure love in its perfection can see God only, 
rest in God only, say God only. It can rejoice, it can 



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105 



take pleasure in toothing save God only. It can care 
for nothing save His sacred interests. Its whole joy 
consists in being able to promote them, and all its 
sorrow springs from not having sufficiently regarded 
them. As for self-interest, it holds it in horror ; it is 
an abomination in its sight. No, we may truly say, it 
troubles itself no more about it than about the dust in 
the streets, and the care which it sees others bestowing 
upon themselves excites its deepest pity. The blessed 
possessor of this pure love has a holy contempt for his 
own interest; this is why it is to him a matter of 
indifference whether he be esteemed or despised by 
creatures — we may say more : the good are expelled 
from bis heart as well as others ; for there is no room 
there for any but God. Thus he does not concern him- 
self if his reputation is ruined in the mind of good men, 
if he suffers contradiction from the servants of God, 
and if his best actions, performed under the inspiration 
of grace, meet with censure : so much less of creatures, 
he says to himself, so much more of God. The abandon- 
ment which he suffers constitutes his pleasure ; and in 
proportion to this abandonment his joy becomes greater, 
his repose calmer, his peace more profound; for his 
highest and most exquisite joy is to come out from all 
that is created, in order to plunge into the Increate. 
Such were the dying sentiments of a holy soul in our 
day, which Father de Condren, an angelic man, admired, 
and which made him desire a like death. " I would 
wish," he said, " to die thus, uttering these words : I 
leave the created, to enter the Increate. " 

This Increate Being, who is God only, forms the 
whole occupation of a glorious eternity ; He fills alone 
all spirits and all the souls of the blessed who live 
therein ; and it would be most just that He should be 



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106 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 

the moving impulse of all hearts on earth, even as He 
is in heaven ; but the greater number are attached to 
their own interests, and those who have loosened them- 
selves from temporal interests still cling to self in their 
spiritual interests. A contemplative soul had one day 
a vision of the small number of the perfect lovers of the 
Son of God. It was manifested to him that out of a 
thousand, there were not a hundred who loved God ; 
and out of these hundred, scarcely one who loved Him 
for His own sake. This sight cost him many tears. 
" Ah !" he exclaimed, " is it possible that there are so 
few hearts who love God after a perfect manner ; but 
amongst this small number of persons who love God 
for God, are any to be found who, loving God for God. 
love Him only, and love Him with fidelity V* The 
Blessed Henry Suso perceived scarcely any on his i 1 last 
rock," that is to say, in the revelation which was made 
to him of the highest ways of perfection.* For this 
reason we have been compelled to suggest other motives 
in this little treatise, in order that men may at least 
love in some way or other; but these motives have 
none of them any value but because they terminate in 
God. It is God, it is God, who imparts their value to 
all things, and without Him all things are nothing. 

The angelic nature is endowed with admirable per- 
fections, but it derives them from God only, and it is 
only in Him that it possesses this glorious exaltation. 
" It is to God only," teaches the devout St Bernard, 
according to Scripture, " that honour and glory are due. 
It is true," says this holy Father, " that we must not 
be ungrateful to the holy angels ; we ought to have a 
great devotion for them, and be very thankful for all 
their goodness to us ; we ought to be full of love for 
* See Note D. 



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107 



creatures so noble, who love us so truly ; we ought to 
honour them to the utmost of our ability, and show 
them all manner of love and gratitude. Let us love and 
honour the angels," exclaims this holy man ; " neverthe- 
less, to Him be all our love and all our honour paid 
from whom both we and they have received all we have 
wherewith either to love and honour, or to be loved and 
honoured ; and after all, what have we left to give, 
we who owe to God our whole heart, our whole soul, 
and all our powers ? " It is, then, in God, and for 
God, that we must love the angels. God must be the 
great motive of all our devotions ; and blessed are those 
souls who act not only with a view to God, but with a 
view to God only ! It is for these souls who possess 
this holy disinterestedness that we have presented God 
only as a motive to the love and devotion which we 
invite them to practise towards these spirits of pure 
love. If it is God only whom they regard in all things, 
well and good : they have then every reason to love the 
angels, for they will find them wholly filled with God 
only. 

The spouse, in the Canticles (iii. 1-4), seeks this 
God only amid the dark nights and obscurities of this 
life ; and in the fervour of the love which urges her, 
she runs in all directions ; she seeks her Beloved in the 
streets and public places ; she inquires for Him of all 
whom she meets, but all her efforts prove useless and 
ineffectual. At last she is met by the keepers of the 
city, and, after she has passed them a little way, she 
finds with joy the Beloved of her heart. Now this 
holy lover is the soul divinely smitten with pure love ; 
this is why she is a spouse, by reason of her union 
with God only. As her affections are not divided, she 
is worthy of the nuptial couch of the Divine Spouse ; 



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108 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



and so we find her saying (iii. 1,) that she sought Him 
in her bed. The Spouse tells her (iv. 9) that He has been 
wounded with love by one of her eyes, and one hair of 
her neck. He intends to mark thereby the unity of 
her affections ; He speaks of one hair only, because she 
has but one tie ; and of one of her eyes, because she 
looks at one thing only, and this it is that has ravished 
His Heart : she thinks of Him only, and desires Him 
only. She goes, then, about the streets and public 
places, seeking Him alone ; she cares not whether it be 
night ; she gives it not a thought that she walks in 
darkness, her love serves her as a torch and a guide. 
In like manner, the soul which is filled with pure love, 
leaning solely on faith, seeks God only unceasingly 
through all the veils of created things ; it seeks Him 
in the streets and public places, that is to say, every- 
where. And as the spouse inquires for her Beloved, 
without even naming Him — the love with which she is 
transported making her believe that all the world knows 
the object of her affections — so also this soul cries 
everywhere, God Only ! without giving heed whether 
men understand this language or not ; she can afford 
to despise the blindness of those to whom such words 
are as an unknown tongue. 

" The language of love," says St Bernard, " is a bar- 
barous tongue to those who love not." " If I speak,' 
says that holy lover, St Augustine, " to a person who 
loves, he well understands what I say. If I speak to a 
frigid heart, devoid of love, it understands me not." 
The spouse finds not her Beloved, because her Beloved 
i3 God only ; and in all men there is something else 
besides God only — excepting always Her with whom 
comparison is inadmissible, the ever- incomparable 
Virgin, Mother of God. Sin is to be found in all, 



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either mortal or venial, or at least original, if it be true 
that some Saints have been preserved from venial sin, 
as is the opinion of some with respect to St John the 
Baptist. But at last the Beloved is found after meet- 
ing those who keep watch over the city; for these 
guards who are stationed on the walls of Jerusalem, 
and who keep continual watch, are the holy angels; 
and on meeting them the Beloved is found, because 
there is not, and never was, in them aught save God 
only. It is true that the spouse declares that she found 
her Beloved after she had passed these guards a little 
way, because pure love does not stop short either at 
the beauty or at any of the other perfections of the 
angels, however lovely and lovable they may be; it 
passes by all these, and goes straight to God only, the 
Author of all these graces and all these gifts, the 
Beginning and the End of all things. He who pos- 
sesses pure love is in a state of universal death to 
everything; and it is this death which teaches the 
science of pure love. This is why St Bernard desired 
to die the death of the angels, meaning by this death 
a perfect detachment from every created thing; and, 
in the desire of this pure love, he ardently longed for 
this holy destitution of all that is not God. " Where 
is wisdom to be found 1 " says holy Job (xxviii. 12-22) ; 
it is not to be " found in the land of them that live 
in delights. The depth saith, It is not in me: and 
the sea saith, It is not with me. Whence, then, 
cometh wisdom ? It is hid from the eyes of all living " 
— of all those who live in themselves, and it is 
even unknown to " the fowls of the air," that is, to the 
most exalted minds, the doctors, the learned, in fine, to 
all these great men. " Destruction and death " alone 
have said that they have learned something of it, and 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



"have heard of the fame thereof." "0 My Father I" 
said our Divine Master (Matt, xi. 25), " I give thanks 
to Thee, because Thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little 
ones." 0 blessed, then, are the poor in spirit 5 O 
blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, to whom is 
given the knowledge of God only, and whose will is 
united to God only ! 

Such souls, seeing only this Infinite Majesty in the 
holy angels, are ravished at the blessed revelation 
they behold of It in these glorious bands. " O heavenly 
armies ! " they exclaim, " how lovely are you in your 
beauty, seeing that you are but pure and spotless mirrors 
of the beauty of God ! We are constrained to love you, 
for nothing save God is to be seen in you ; you have 
ever been filled with Him ; and, never having belonged 
to yourselves, you have been possessed by Him alone. 
Great princes of the empyrean, how can we help loving 
you, since you have ever loved and have ever been 
loved by Him who is Love ; since you have ever loved 
as much as it was in your power to love? for it is 
most assuredly true that never for one single moment 
have you been without love, without pure love. 0 my 
soul ! if our inclinations ought to be ruled by those of 
a God, the angels ought indeed to be the worthiest 
objects of our tenderest affections. O ye desires of my 
heart ! go, then, nay run, fly to these enrapturing 
beings, these amiable spirits, these glorious princes of 
a blessed Eternity. God only, God only, God only ! " 



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PART II. 

PRACTICE OP THIS DEVOTION. 



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FIRST PRACTICE. 

To have a Pakticular Devotion to the Angels, Archangels, 
and Principalities. 

The three orders of the third and last hierarchy of 
angels are composed of the Angels, the Archangels, and 
the Principalities, or, according to some, the Virtues. 
This last hierarchy is specially engaged in the care of 
men, of kingdoms and provinces, and of other things, 
which peculiarly regard the good of men. Our Guardian 
Angels are generally taken from the third order of this 
hierarchy; the Archangels watch over empires and 
provinces; and the Principalities communicate to the 
Angels and Archangels the orders of Divine Providence 
which they receive from the second hierarchy. They 
are called Principalities, according to St Gregory, be- 
cause they are the princes of the heavenly spirits of the 
two inferior orders of their hierarchy. The Angels 
manifest the Divine will in ordinary matters ; the Arch- 
angels make it known in such as are of greater moment ; 
and both are informed and enlightened therein by the 
Principalities, who represent in a special manner the 
empire and sovereignty of God. Now the loving charity 
of the blessed spirits of this hierarchy towards men is 
so exceedingly great and so admirable, that we shall 
never be able to make any adequate return either of 
gratitude or of homage ; but at least let us love them 
as much as is in our power. I well know that this love 
will never equal their merits ; God grant that it may be 

H 



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114 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

to the utmost of our ability, according to what God 
requires of us, and in such a manner as is pleasing to 
Him. 

Let us, then, have a singular devotion to our good 
Angel Guardians : and indeed it is difficult not to have 
it, and we must be utterly blind and heartless not to 
entertain towards them all those sentiments of perfect 
gratitude which we are capable of feeling. Let us 
honour much the Guardian Angels of the heathen, and 
let us from time to time go in spirit to converse with 
them and bear them company, to express the regret of 
our hearts at the unbelief of those of whom they have 
the charge. Alas ! so far from thanking them for their 
loving care, these poor infidels do not even know that 
they are assisted by them. Admire these princes of 
heaven, and their unwearied patience ; consider how 
many millions of them there are in barbarous lands, who 
keep untiring watch over these unhappy beings, without 
ever experiencing from them the least token of grati- 
tude ; endeavour to compensate, according to your poor 
ability, for their neglect ; let their ingratitude or their 
ignorance touch your heart with feelings of love to- 
wards these spirits of love. Communicate from time to 
time in honour of them ; practise mortifications, give 
alms, hear Mass, and have Masses offered for the same 
object ; above all, as we have said, in spirit bear them 
company, and go often to visit them. Ah! if the 
princes of the earth; the kings of this world, were in 
some place where you could enjoy the honour of saluting 
them, conversing with them at your ease, gaining their 
friendship, and thus insuring their favour, how would 
you act 1 Now here are princes and kings of the em- 
pyrean, whom you may salute whenever you please, 
whose good graces you may gain, and who will be certain 



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ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, PRINCIPALITIES. 116 

to recompense, sooner or later, the affection which you 
have shown them. As they are so utterly neglected, 
they will have the greater reason to love you all the 
more. A great and generous king who, when banished 
from his kingdom, and deserted by his subjects, should 
receive some important services, would not fail to requite 
them conspicuously when he was peaceably restored to 
his dominions ; judge hence what you may expect from 
these noble spirits. Perform devotions in their honour, 
to obtain from the Divine Goodness the conversion of 
the nations under their care, in order that, learning to 
know the Adorable Jesus, and Mary His sweet Mother, 
they may also know and honour these nobles of the 
court of Heaven. I say the same with respect to the 
Guardian Angels of heretics, and of all those poor coun- 
try people who have scarcely any more knowledge of 
the holy angels than have those who live in the midst 
of heathen lands. Adopt the same practices with refer- 
ence to these, and pray often that, being known and 
loved, they may also be duly honoured. 

Be devout to the Guardian Angels of your friends ; 
they render you in many instances greater services than 
you are aware; and sometimes they even give you 
assistance which you do not receive from your own 
Angel Guardian. There are occasions on which they 
interest themselves in your behalf for the sake of those 
of whom they have the care, knowing that your friend- 
ship is profitable to them for the good of their souls. 
As there is nothing of which these holy spirits have a 
greater horror than of bad or dangerous friendships, so 
also one of the things which affords them most consola- 
tion is a holy union in the interests of God. The devils 
do all they can to make men contract evil friendships, 
and the good angels to break them. The holy angels 



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116 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



labour to unite those who are seeking God, and the 
devils neglect nothing to part them, and to create dis- 
union between them. A holy person having contracted 
a truly Christian friendship with another, the devil, 
envious of the good which it was producing, seized one 
of them, and threw him down some steps to the ground. 
The Guardian Angel of the friend came speedily to his 
help, and preserved him from injury ; but what is re- 
markable is this, that it was the friend's Angel-Guardian, 
and not the Guardian of him who was cast down by the 
devil. 

In the number of your friends, spiritual directors 
ought to hold a very prominent place ; beseech their 
good angels to inspire them with such counsels as are 
purely conformable to the Divine will You should also 
highly honour those of your father and mother, of your 
relations, and of other persons with whom you are con- 
nected, and who render you, or may render you, some 
service. The honour which you pay to their angels will 
not be without fruit, and you will obtain through their 
means what you would never gain in any other way. 
Remember, also, the Angel-Guardians of all those per- 
sons who are kind, or have been kind to you ; these 
angels have more to say than you think to the benefits 
you have received from them. Honour the angels of 
your enemies, of those who are opposed to you in any 
way whatever : this is the true means to soften their 
hearts ; or, if it be more for the glory of God that you 
should suffer at their hands, these glorious spirits will 
obtain you special graces to make a good use of your 
sufferings, and cordially to love those who hate you or 
cause you trouble. Do not forget to pay your homage 
to those princes of Heaven who guard the Sovereign 
Pontiff, the Bishops, and'other persons who preside over 



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the Church, as well as kings, princes, governors, and 
other administrators of temporal things. 

The Archangels of kingdoms and of provinces must 
also be objects of your devotion, as also those of the 
towns and villages in which you dwell and through 
which you pass. This was a devotion practised by that 
holy man, Father Peter Faber, first companion of St 
Ignatius, and St Francis de Sales makes honourable 
mention of it in his " Introduction to a Devout Life." 
St Francis Xavier, when going to the Indies, paid his 
devotions to the holy Archangel of those countries, and 
while he was still at Home he was visited, and power- 
fully urged to pass over to these foreign lands, by an 
angel in the garb of an Indian. That Macedonian who 
appeared to St Paul (Acts xviii. 9), and pressed him to 
go into Macedonia to preach the gospel there, was 
doubtless the Archangel of that country. 

We have already observed that there are angels who 
have the care of the heavens, of the sun, of fire, of air, 
of the waters, of the earth, and even of the other crea- 
tures in the world ; and the Angelic Doctor is of opinion 
that God employs the ministry of these heavenly spirits 
in all that He ordinarily works here below. It is 
through their instrumentality that the scourges of His 
divine justice are averted ; that fires and conflagrations 
are extinguished ; that inundations subside; that pesti- 
lence is abated; that the air is purified; that lands 
become fertile; in fine, that we receive all sorts of good 
things, and are preserved from a multitude of evils, and 
all this often without our perceiving it, without our 
knowing the obligations we are under to the holy angels. 
Let us, then, to-day form a good resolution to thank 
them sometimes for these services, and to invoke them, 
and cause them to be invoked, by public and private 



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118 DEVOTION TO THB HOLY ANGELS. 

prayers, in time of famine, war, or pestilence, as well as 
in other sicknesses and necessities ; for fair weather, 
and for rain, for the fruits of the earth, and in all our 
various needs. We have also said that they are the pro- 
tectors to whom we must have recourse in all things, 
and the most mighty whom Heaven has given us to 
destroy all the power of our adversaries. 

Our churches, and even altars, have angels who guard, 
them; and they gather in troops around the tabernacles 
where reposes the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, to 
pay their court to their Sovereign. Many Saints have 
beheld them paying their adoration to their great King 
and ours. A holy hermit was told by an angel himself 
that he had the guardianship of an altar, and that he 
had never left it since its consecration. It is to these 
angels we ought often to have recourse, that they may 
supply for our negligences, our tepidity, and our want 
of respect in presence of a God of Infinite Majesty in 
the Most Blessed Sacrament ; that they may appease 
His anger, justly irritated by so many irreverences com- 
mitted in our churches, and that they may open the 
eyes of Christians, and those the greater number, who 
give such little heed to the veneration due to our temples. 
It is good to associate ourselves with these heavenly- 
spirits, uniting our reverence and love with theirs, and, 
after the example of the Psalmist (cxxxvii. 1), sing the 
praises of God in their sight. 

And here, O my Lord and my God, suffer me to sigh 
and pour forth my heart before Thy Divine Majesty, 
because of the deplorable blindness of Thy people, who 
are the people of light. Is it, then, Thou, O God, In- 
finitely Adorable, who art hidden with all Thy perfec- 
tions under the veil of the Eucharistic species ? Is it 
Thy Body, Thy Blood, Thy Soul, Thy Divinity which 



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ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, PRINCIPALITIES. 119 

is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of 
the Altar? Is it possible that men still retain any faith 
in these most indubitable truths ? Or is it an illusion 
— this that is so visible and palpable to us every day in 
the treatment Thou receivest in this august mystery t 
Our hair stands on end, and our whole body trembles 
with dread, when we consider the abominable profana- 
tions of this Sacrament of love committed by sorcerers,* 
and the impieties practised by heretics towards this 
adorable mystery. But who could have conceived the 
irreverence of the faithful, of those who believe and who 
fear, and who declare themselves ready to die for this truth, 
that Thou, O my God, O Adorable Jesus ! art most truly 
present in the Divine Eucharist ? Ye angels of Heaven, 
what a spectacle does such blindness present to you ! 
Ah ! we may well say that your patience takes its rule 
from that of the meek Saviour, for you to be able to 
endure such irreverences. No ; we must declare it 
before the face of Heaven and earth : we cannot recover 
from our astonishment, we are lost in amazement, when 
we consider darkness so appalling. O my God, O my 
God ! are we living in a Catholic country % Are our 
churches and altars in the possession of the faithful ? 
Have these people, whom we see trooping in crowds to 
them, any vestige of faith % Is there anything to give 
us pleasure in what we there witness ? And if there be 
any truth in all we believe, can we live, can we possibly 
continue, in a place where our Master is so unworthily 
treated? 

Listen, O Christians ! and listen attentively. It is an 
indubitable truth that in the minutest particle of the 
Most Holy Sacrament the great God of everlasting ages 
is really present. All Catholics confess this. But what 
• See Note E. 



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120 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



care is taken to prevent the profanations which hence may 
occur ? Oh ! how many priests are there, little instructed 
in the holy rubrics, or little intent on the care of the Ador- 
able Body of a God, who give scarcely any heed dili- 
gently to collect the particles which may remain on the 
paten, or on the corporal ! The generality of portable 
altars are so small that the sacred chalice cannot be 
moved a little on one side or backward, in order to 
allow the paten to be placed further on the corporal, 
and the corporal itself to be raised, so that the particles 
which adhere to it may fall easily on the paten ; hence 
it frequently happens that the Body of the Son of God 
remains there, and falls to the ground, or is carried 
away with the corporals when they are taken to be 
washed. How often may one see corporals so ragged 
or so dirty as to send a revulsion to the heart ! Ex- 
perience shows that in religious houses, where a paten 
is used at the grate in time of communion, or some red 
or green taffety — because upon linen the particles of the 
Sacred Host, being also white, would be undiscernible 
—experience, I say, shows that often many particles are 
imperceptibly detached from the Blessed Sacrament ; 
consequently, in places where there is only an ordinary 
linen cloth, they either fall on the cloth or on the ground, 
unless the priest takes extreme care to carry the ciborium 
in such a manner as that it shall always be underneath 
the Sacred Host, which is often almost impossible. If 
they fall on the cloth they also fall to the ground ; for 
at each fresh communion the cloth is dropped, and no 
further attention is given to it ; it is afterwards folded 
up without being examined, and were it otherwise, 
these little particles, which are well-nigh imperceptible, 
could not be discovered on account of the linen being 
white. Here, then, is the Body of a God trodden 



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ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, PRINCIPALITIES. 121 

nnderfoot and sometimes under the shoes of a vile 
creature ! 

How many tabernacles are there in which spiders and 
dust are allowed to harbour, and which are so imper- 
fectly closed that people would not endure to have in their 
houses wardrobes containing the most trifling things so in- 
secure and so dirty ! How many priests leave the taber- 
nacle key in the church, instead of locking it up by another 
key, and carrying that key away, which they ought to do, 
if they do not take away the key of the tabernacle itself ! 
And how many profanations result from this want of 
care ! We speak advisedly. How often are miserable 
rags shamelessly employed to cover ciboriums in which 
are contained the Divinity, the Soul, the Body, and the 
Blood of the Adorable Jesus! And yet Christians 
know and see these things, and scarcely any one thinks 
of providing a remedy. You hear people say — O my 
God ! how often have I heard it ! how often has it 
been said to me — " We have no money to buy a little 
linen to make corporals and purificatories the poorest 
peasants will contrive to have enough for their shirts 
and collars ; but as for Thee, my God, Thou hast not 
credit enough to raise as much ! * 

Oh ! ye gentlemen and ladies, who have so much fine 
linen, so much handsome furniture, so much silver plate, 
and that sometimes even for the meanest uses, what will 
you say at the day of judgment ? Ye pastors, who are 
entrusted with the care of this Adorable Body, what 
will you answer Him ? Will it be a sufficient excuse 
for you to allege on that dreadful day that the Church 
was too poor to provide corporals, or to pay for a decent 
ciborium or chalice ? The retrenchment of a banquet, 
of a few dinners, or of some other expense, would more 
* See Note F. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



than suffice — I mean, for ciborium and chalice, for as 
to the corporals, two crowns or less would be enough, 
and indeed they are sometimes so narrow that the priest, 
after consecration, can scarcely keep his hands on them. 
You will see a pewter chalice in a gentleman's private 
chapel ; and in the chapels of not a few ecclesiastics 
who are in the receipt of good revenues, we see the 
same thing, and a very scanty supply of linen and orna- 
ments for the sacred altar. But is it possible that what 
we are saying is true ? Is there any faith in the Most 
Holy Sacrament still surviving among Christians ] Is 
the thought not enough to rend the heart in twain with 
grief ? Who will give me a voice of thunder, that I 
may call aloud to the children of men throughout the 
whole earth, and reproach them with their hardness 
and deadness of heart ? 

0 angels of Paradise ! I turn to you, knowing well 
the insensibility of men : do you take charge — I conjure 
you, I entreat this favour of you, prostrate at your feet, 
in the bitterness of my heart, and bathed in tears — do 
you take charge of the Body of our Sovereign. Watch 
over every particle of the Sacred Host ; inspire priests 
with a holy solicitude to preserve them in perfect clean- 
liness before consecrating them, and to use every possible 
means to prevent the profanation of those that are re- 
served after consecration. Stimulate all prelates, arch- 
deacons, and other visitors of churches, to give most 
diligent heed that the Body of a God may be both 
treated and preserved with all possible respect. En- 
lighten more and more the minds of those who have the 
training of ecclesiastics in the seminaries, that they may 
give the necessary instructions in a matter of such high 
importance. Order it so that the subject may be intro- 
duced and discussed in clerical conferences, and counsel 



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ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, PRINCIPALITIES, 123 

taken concerning the needful remedies to be applied. 
Touch the hearts of such as are possessed of the means, 
that in the different dioceses associations may be formed 
for collecting funds to provide ciboriums, chalices, and 
corporals. I know from my own personal experience, 
derived from the great number of visitations which my 
office obliges me to make in the course of the year, that 
with a little zeal it would be easy in a few years, through 
the exertions of the bishop, the archdeacons, the parish 
priests, the nobility, and a few other persons in easy 
circumstances, to provide decent tabernacles, ciboriums 
of silver, or, in places liable to be robbed, ciboriums of 
copper, into the interior of which a sort of silver cup 
might easily be fitted with perfect exactness, wherein 
to deposit the Sacred Hosts : the cost would be small, 
two crowns or thereabouts sufficing. This sort of cibo- 
rium is quite as suitable as the little silver boxes 
commonly employed, and is better adapted for use, 
because it holds a larger number of Hosts, which are 
not exposed, as in the little boxes, to sundry risks 
which occur when they are used for giving communion 
at Easter and other solemn festivals, at which times a 
great concourse of persons approach the Holy Table ; it 
would be easy, I say, to have decent tabernacles as well 
as ciboriums, to make use of none but silver chalices, 
and to furnish every church and chapel with proper 
corporals and purificatories. 

Sublime intelligences, loving guardians of chapels, 
make known the miserable state in which they are left ; 
cause them to be carefully visited, for very often they 
are quite neglected, and it is the parish church alone 
which is visited ; the consequence of which is, that the 
very names of the incumbents are scarcely known, who 
frequently never set foot in them, eat up the revenues 



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124 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



with impunity, disregard the charges attached to them, 
or acquit themselves only of a part of them, and expend, 
nothing on the maintenance of these chapels or priories, 
but leave them in a lamentable condition, without orna- 
ments, without furniture, so that they look rather like 
barns or stables than sanctuaries appropriated to the 
consecration of the Body and Blood of a God. 

Oh ! what a reckoning shall prelates have to give of 
these places, where the most august of our sacred mys- 
teries is treated with such habitual irreverence through 
their want of care : and here I must not omit to men- 
tion a circumstance which I have observed during my 
visitations. If a church lacks a banner or a pall, great 
eagerness is shown to obtain the money to provide one ; 
if the subject be mentioned, everybody listens, and is 
ready to lend his aid ; all exclaim against the disgrace ; 
and although the expense may be pretty considerable, 
means are found to meet it. But let a couple of crowns 
be wanted to put a ciborium in decent order, after the 
manner described above, or to purchase corporals, every 
one is silent, no one cares to listen. Such is the utter 
blindness of Christians, proof sufficient of the hardness 
• of hearts and the want of faith. Sometimes people will 
object to having a ciborium or chalice of silver ; they 
will insist that a pewter one will answer the purpose 
very well, that it has been hitherto deemed sufficient ; 
and a wish will be expressed to convert the church plate 
into money. I earnestly commend tbe matter to pious 
souls, that they may devise some means of remedying 
such a deplorable state of things ; and I conjure with 
tears all whose hearts are touched with zeal for the 
glory of the Adorable Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacra- 
ment, to practise frequent devotions in honour of tbe 
holy angels, and especially of those who abide in our 



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ANGELS, ARCHANGELS, PRINCIPALITIES. 125 



churches, who encompass the Most Holy Sacrament, 
and who keep watch over altars, that they may ask 
pardon of the Divine Majesty for our irreverence, our 
coldness, our blindness, our insensibility ; and that they 
may inspire us with the knowledge of the suitable 
means to obtain for this Mystery of Love the respect 
which is Its due. 

What Father de Bary, a Jesuit, relates in his excel- 
lent book on " Devotion to the Angels," plainly proves 
that Communities and Confraternities have their angels 
also who watch over them. He affirms that he was 
informed by the confessor of a young man of the town 
of Eu, who lay dangerously ill, that towards the hour 
of noon, on a certain Wednesday, two angels, all-re- 
splendent with majesty and beauty, appeared to him, 
and consoled him to the very moment of his death, 
which occurred on the following Saturday, as they had 
predicted to him. Now one of these angels told him 
that he was his angel-guardian, and the other the tute- 
lary angel of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin 
established in that city, in the College of the Company 
of Jesus. The angel of the Confraternity, moreover, 
said to him that they were sent by the command of the 
most holy Mother of God thus to assist him, on account 
of the patience with which he had borne some ill-treat- 
ment which he had suffered from his father and mother, 
especially as he might have avoided it if he had so 
willed, and also because he had faithfully observed the 
rules of the Confraternity. 

It is a holy practice to implore the aid of the angels 
of the diocese in which we reside, and of the guardian 
angels of its bishop and of those under him, that they 
may succeed in establishing the reign of Jesus Christ 
in the hearts of the faithful who dwell there, that they 



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126 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



may destroy the empire of Satan, and receive the lights 
and strength necessary to maintain holy discipline in 
the diocese ; and that they may defeat the malice and 
wiles of the devils, who are ever labouring to counteract 
the means which God is pleased to employ for the pro- 
motion of His divine interests. 

Finally, we must be devout to the Angels, to obtain 
through them purity of mind and body, charity towards 
our neighbour, and also patience; to the Archangels, 
to obtain through them a zeal for the interests of God, 
both for ourselves and others, especially for those who 
govern in Church and State, for all who are vested with 
authority, and for the spiritual and temporal good of 
kingdoms and provinces ; to the Principalities for the 
reformation of our own interior. Man is a little world 
in himself, and he is bound to govern his passions, and 
rule as a sovereign over them But since his power is 
marvellously weakened by sin, he needs support, that 
he may not let himself be overcome by himself. The 
Principalities, who bear this glorious title on account 
of the rule which God has given them over the inferior 
angels, will render him powerful assistance if he strives 
to make himself not unworthy of it ; but to this end he 
must honour with profound reverence these great princes 
of Paradise. 



SECOND PRACTICE. 

TO HONOUB ESPECIALLY THE POWERS, THE VlBTUES, AND THE 

Dominations. 

The second hierarchy is composed of the Powers, the 
Virtues, and the Dominations, or, according to some 

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POWBES, VTBTUES, DOMINATIONS. 127 

who place the Virtues in the last hierarchy, the Prin- 
cipalities, the Powers, and the Dominations. The 
Dominations, as lords or primates of the second hier- 
archy, give orders in the things of God ; the Virtues 
impart strength to obey them; and the Powers resist the 
devils who oppose their execution, overthrowing their 
might, and removing all the obstacles that stand in the 
way. 

It is, then, the Dominations who communicate the 
commands of God, and make known to us His holy 
will Oh, happy we, if we could well discriminate 
between the Divine will and our own ! How often 
does the love of ourselves and of creatures, the invari- 
able effect of which is to darken the mind, deceive us, 
and cause us to mistake our will for that of God ! A 
soul which is but even slightly touched with Divine 
love would with difficulty bring itself to oppose the 
will of God when it fully recognises it ; but our cor- 
rupt nature insensibly glides in, and easily persuades 
us that what we wish is what God wills. We would 
wish the will of God to be done, but we should be well 
pleased that our own should be done also ; and so we 
endeavour to reconcile the Divine will with our own 
wilL This disorder is much greater among spiritual 
persons than is commonly supposed. Now devotion to 
the Dominations is a great remedy thereto, since it is 
the special office of these spirits of light to make known 
to us the commands of God ; they are, so to say, the 
secretaries of state of the great King Jesus. 

But it is not sufficient to know the commands of 
God, we must proceed to execute them. He who 
knows the will of his master, and performs it not, shall 
be severely punished. 0 my God ! how meet it is that 
Thy creatures should be perfectly subject to Thee ! O 



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128 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

Lord, who is like unto Thee ! Who can appear ill Thy 
Divine Presence and be worthy of regard ? The whole 
universe before Thee is but as a drop of dew, and all 
the nations are as nothingness. What a wretched thing 
it is not to fly at the least intimation of Thy good 
pleasure ! Oh, the good pleasure of God ! May it be 
for all eternity our only pleasure ! Come, my soul, let 
our movements be ever in that direction ; let the world, 
and everything in the world, be always an abomination 
to thee. O my God! may Thy will be done, as in 
Heaven, so on earth ! Nevertheless, with all our good 
purposes we accomplish nothing of any worth ; our eye 
reaches farther than our arm. From the summit of a 
tower we can survey a very difficult road we have to 
traverse, and the view of it is unquestionably easy in 
comparison with the toil to be endured in actually pro- 
ceeding along it : so it is with our reasonings ; it seems 
to us as if nothing would stop us ; and when the hour 
of combat arrives, they who in imagination have dis- 
comfited giants and monsters, are disheartened at the 
sight of pigmies. We are naught but sheer weakness ; 
we are ruled by our senses, by our inclinations. You 
will see devout persons, who seem to be working won- 
ders, lay down their arms to some slight inclination, 
and allow themselves to be overcome by the merest 
nothing : it is a most pitiable spectacle ; and yet, after 
all, we are not really aware of our own utter powerless- 
ness ; we are much more feeble than our imaginations 
can ever conceive. Let devotion to the Virtues, then, 
be our resource, that we may be sustained by these 
mighty Intelligences ; let us invoke them in our weak- 
nesses ; let us recommend this devotion to those who 
so constantly fall, notwithstanding all their good de- 
sires; let us call them to our aid; let us love them 



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POWERS, VIRTUES, DOMINATIONS. 129 

and bless them when we have overcome some attach- 
ment, or resisted some natural inclination. St Gregory 
is of opinion that it is through the instrumentality of 
the Virtues that God ordinarily performs most of His 
miracles. Have a special love, then, for these angels ; 
and in extraordinary necessities of mind or body, in 
times of epidemics and other public afflictions, have 
recourse to them. It is by them also that God governs 
the seasons, the visible heavens, and the elements 
generally, although angels of the lowest hierarchy have 
the special charge of them. In times of plague, inun- 
dations, and other such like evils, one of the best things 
we can do is to invoke and honour them. 

We have elsewhere detailed the different temptations 
of the devils, their stratagems, their malice, and their 
might, and we said that of ourselves we are unable to 
resist these invisible powers; we also said that the 
holy angels have been given to us to enable us to 
triumph over them. But here we must remark, that it 
is to the particular choir of the Powers that God has 
given a special strength to bring to naught all the 
efforts of these malicious spirits; and one of the 
greatest secrets of the spiritual life is to apply ourselves 
assiduously to honour the blessed spirits of this choir. 
It is not within the limits of my capacity nor of that 
of any other man to exalt sufficiently the marvellous 
effects which result therefrom. According to the little 
light I possess, this devotion to the Powers ought to be 
encouraged as one of the most necessary and most pro- 
fitable. When we see storms gathering either in the 
Church or in the State, combinations to resist those 
who are working for the glory of God, extraordinary 
conspiracies to defeat some great good which is being 
planned in dioceses, towns, country districts, and pro- 

i 



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130 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

vinces — then it is that we ought to perform frequent 
devotions in honour of these Powers of Heaven, that 
they may overturn and destroy all the might and miser- 
able plottings of hell. 

■ ♦ 



THIRD PRACTICE. 

To have a Propound Reverence and Extraordinary Love 
fob the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. 

The first hierarchy is composed of the Seraphim, Cheru- 
bim, and Thrones; it receives its lights immediately 
from God, which by it are communicated to the two 
other hierarchies. 

The Seraphim excel in the pure love of God only, 
their very name signifying ardour and burning. All 
the angels are admirable in the love of God, but the 
Seraphim are incomparable therein. All these angelic 
spirits love exceedingly, but when we speak of the love 
of the Seraphim, we mean a fervour of love which is 
beyond compare — always excepting the most holy Virgin, 
the Queen of holy love. Seraphic love signifies intense 
love, which is ever burning and consuming. The great 
St Denis mentions eight properties which belong to it, 
and which he compares to those of fire. Fire is in con- 
stant motion, and the spirits of the Seraphim are con- 
tinually tending in an ineffable manner towards God. 
Fire is ever active, and the Seraphim are incessantly 
intent on God only, never being occupied, even for the 
space of the brief est moment, either with themselves or 
with any created thing. Fire is inflexible, and the love 
of the Seraphim is invincible; nothing can prevail 



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THEONES, CHERUBIM, SERAPHIM. 131 



against it. Fire is intensely hot ; and the love of the Sera- 
phim is a burning love. Fire, so long as it flames, 
never loses its light, and the strength of Seraphic love 
abides ever in its fulness. Fire is penetrating ; and the 
love of the Seraphim, not satisfied with an ordinary 
degree of union with God, desires the closest and most 
intimate. Fire not only penetrates what is combustible, 
but permeates it throughout ; and Seraphic love plunges, 
loses, and ingulfs itself in the abyss of the Divinity by 
a glorious transformation. Fire communicates warmth 
and purifies ; the Seraphim carry love and light into all 
the choirs of the inferior angels. 

Light is attributed specially to the Cherubim, as love 
to the Seraphim. They are not only styled learned in 
the divine science of Heaven, but St Gregory affirms 
that they have the very fulness of it. Divine light 
imparts to them admirable knowledge, and the holy 
effulgence with which they are replenished is reflected 
in abundant streams upon the other hierarchies. They 
are represented by the Prophet Ezekiel (L 18) under 
a sensible figure, with eyes on all sides, because these 
spirits are all light and brilliancy. 

The Thrones are thus styled with a reference to the 
thrones of the sovereigns of the earth, because as these 
material thrones are raised above the ground, so also 
these celestial Thrones are exalted to a most sublime 
height, into a close vicinity to the glory of the Majesty 
of God ; with this difference, that the great ones of the 
earth are seated, support themselves, and repose upon 
their thrones, whereas, on the contrary, the Thrones of 
Heaven derive their firmness and all their repose from 
the Sovereign of Paradise. We are told, it is true, as 
St Bernard remarks, that God is seated upon these 
spirits of peace, whence also they are styled Thrones ; 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



but God (continues this Father) would not be seated 
upon them if they did not repose upon Him : hence 
flows that incomprehensible peace which they possess, 
surpassing all that we can possibly conceive. We must 
add, that, like as kings sometimes cause themselves to 
be borne in their royal chair, so also God in a certain, 
manner conveys His Spirit by these angels, and com- 
municates It to the inferior angels and to men; as 
kings give judgment upon their thrones, so also it is 
from the midst of these Thrones that God pronounces 
His decrees: it is there that the Dominations learn 
them ; it is there that His Divine judgments and coun- 
sels are manifested. 

If this be so, we may well say that we are in every 
way bound to love the Thrones, the Cherubim, and the 
Seraphim ; and, if it be most meet that we should feel 
respect and love for all the angels, for these we must 
entertain unparalleled reverence and surpassing love. 
The Lord, says the Scripture (Ps. lxxv. 3), has chosen 
His abode in peace. In time of war, then, let your 
devotions be olfered to the Thrones, to obtain that peace 
which the world cannot give. Beseech of them that 
you may enjoy it with yourself, with God, and with 
your neighbour. " If I did yet please men," said the 
great Apostle (Gal. i. 10), " I should not be the ser- 
vant of Jesus Christ." There are certain persons, 
preachers, superiors, men who hold offices in the Church, 
who have so great a dread of displeasing creatures, and 
so great a desire to content them, who fear so much the 
censure of the world and the judgment which may be 
passed upon them, who are so alarmed at contradiction, 
that they allow those who are under them to wage war 
against God by sia and infidelity to their trusts. This 
is the peace which the Son of God protests aloud (Matt. 



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THBOXES, CHERUBIM, SERAPHIM. 133 



x. 34) that He came not to bring upon earth ; and thus 
our amiable Lord was ever on earth a sign of contradic- 
tion (Luke ii. 84) ; men would not endure His pres- 
ence among them, and it cost Him at last His Divine 
Life. 

In order to be firmly established in this divine peace 
which all devils and men united cannot disturb, we 
must (to express it in a few words) fear nothing and 
hope nothing from any living creature. In these few 
words is comprehended a peace which is beyond all 
thought. To this we may add, Believe only in God, 
hope only in God, love but God only ; never believe the 
world, or its arguments, or its maxims ; never hope for 
anything from the world, from its honours, its pleasures, 
or its goods ; never love the world, and behold you are 
settled in a profound peace. No longer make account 
of any created things ; never look at them save in their 
nothingness ; never desire any share in the esteem or 
in the heart of any one ; banish the good from your 
heart as well as others ; make no exception ; be ready 
to suffer at the hands of all creatures without reserve, 
of your nearest friends as well as of your enemies; 
never believe that any injury can be done to you, but 
live in a state of entire abandonment to Divine Provi- 
dence, prepared to enter upon ways the most distressing, 
be they exterior or interior ; make no reservation with 
respect to any particular cross ; entertain no longer any 
desires ; lose them all in the good pleasure of God ; let 
God alone suffice you, and behold you already enjoy the 
peace of Paradise ! And here you must remember that 
disturbance in the inferior part is quite compatible with 
the peace which resides in the depths of the soul, and 
which sometimes even remains hidden from us ; thus it 
frequently happens that we are never in a better state 



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134 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



than when we think ourselves in the worst. The devil 
gives as a false peace, which sooner or later fails to 
keep out disquietude and trouble. However, if peace 
is the gift of gifts, and if our Lord ordains it through 
the ministry of the blessed Thrones, no doubt can 
remain but that we ought to have a very singular devo- 
tion to these spirits of peace. 

I say the same with respect to the Cherubim, since 
they are the angels of the most brilliant lights of Para- 
dise, who best know how to instruct us in the excellent 
science of the Saints. It is said with truth, that we 
already know more than we perform ; that in the ways 
of virtue light abounds more than practice ; neverthe- 
less, it is also true, though you will scarcely believe it, 
that perfect light is rare. I speak not here of that light 
of human science which learned men derive only from 
their books — we all know that such light is common 
enough in our day — but of that of the Saints, which is 
more often to be found in some poor lay brother, or 
some poor simple woman (simple femmelette) of truly 
mortified life, than among the learned. Oh, how rare 
it is, not only to love contempt, abjection, poverty, self- 
renunciation, the hidden and unknown life, but even to 
be thoroughly persuaded of the excellence of these 
things! It is true you will hear people occasionally 
talking about them because they have been reading of 
them, or have heard the subject treated in a conference, 
but this does not spring from any thorough conviction 
of the mind; or, if the soul is touched with these 
truths, it is but very superficially. It is at the feet of 
Jesus Christ Crucified that this science is learned ; and 
this, not so much by means of the exercise of the un- 
derstanding in prayer, by the discursive method, or by 
meditation, as by a bright supernatural light which is 



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THRONES, CHERUBIM, SERAPHIM. 135 

vouchsafed, and which is scarcely ever given save to 
the poor, the abject, and the humble. Few, even 
among those who make profession of devotion, learn 
this great lesson of the school of God : that it is good 
for us that men should not so much as know that we 
are in the world ; that we should live therein utterly 
unknown, or known only to be crucified, and to be held 
in utter contempt ; that there is nothing greater than 
to be trodden underfoot ; that the highest consolation 
is to suffer terrible crosses, both interior and exterior ; 
that everything in the world is nothing. Scarcely are 
directors to be met with who, esteeming no longer any- 
thing save God only and Jesus Crucified, and being in- 
timately persuaded that there is nothing on earth — 
neither honours, nor pleasures, nor riches — which de- 
serves to occupy the attention of a Christian, help souls 
to walk in the safe path of self-annihilation. If perad- 
venture some are to be met with, instantly all hell con- 
spires against them ; it excites a dread of them ; they 
are feared, no one knows why ; it causes a thousand 
rumours to be circulated about them ; it endeavours to 
create mistrust of them ; a thousand other directors or 
preachers do not alarm the devils so much as one of 
this sort. A devil, constrained by the authority of 
Holy Church, confessed that the person on earth he 
feared most was that holy man, Father John of the 
Cross, because, said this spirit of hell, he teaches 
men to go to God only by the road of nothingness ; 
accordingly, the effects of the rage of these diaboli- 
cal spirits against the man of God were soon evident 
in the calumnies they raised against him, in the in- 
quiries which superiors instituted into his life, and in 
the ill-treatment which he received at their hands. 1 
1 See supra, p. 69. 



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136 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



As the Cherubim are the sacred ministers of the 
light of God, so are the Seraphim of His love. Who- 
ever, then, aspires to pure love, ought to feel an extra- 
ordinary love for these amiable spirits, and to cultivate 
a special intimacy with them. The saints who have 
excelled the most in pure love received marvellous aid 
from them ; as, for instance, St Francis and St Teresa. 
It was a Seraph, as we have already noticed, who im- 
printed on St Francis the Wounds of the Saviour ; it 
was a Seraph who lovingly pierced with a sacred arrow 
the generous heart of the great Teresa. All the great 
lovers of the Son of God, those who have excelled even 
among the greatest saints, can have no higher glory in 
Heaven than that of being placed in the choir of these 
spirits who are all love. It is to their blessed company 
that the souls most eminent in perfection may aspire. 
The late M. Gallemant, a most apostolic man, and one 
of the first superiors of the holy Order of the Carmel- 
ites in France, said that this Order was destined to fill 
up the choir of the Seraphim, if it made good use of 
the super-excellent grace it employs. In the miracu- 
lous apparitions with which the Blessed Virgin favoured 
the Venerable John of the Cross, this Queen of Angels 
was seen holding a casket, or, as it might be, a book, 
of marvellous whiteness, which rested on the head of a 
Seraph, and which she presented to St Teresa, and to this 
man of God, who was kneeling at her feet. Now this 
casket evidently signified the Carmelite rule; it was 
laid on the head of a Seraph, to intimate that they who 
were called to observe it were under obligation to live 
as Seraphim on earth ; and this Seraph appeared with- 
out a crown, because he represented those who are yet 
in the way ; above were to be seen others with their 
crowns on, to show at the same time that, after this 



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THE SEVEN BEFORE THE THRONE. 137 



life, these earthly Seraphim should share the crowns 
of the heavenly Seraphim, and fill the seats from 
which the apostate spirits of this choir were miserably 
precipitated. 



FOUKTH PRACTICE. 

TO HAVE A GREAT DEVOTION TO St MICHAEL, St GABRIEL, 

St Raphael, and the four other Angels who are be- 
fore the Throne op God. 

It was St Michael who took up the defence of the 
honour of God against Lucifer, in the cause of the In- 
carnation of the Word ; 1 and St John Chrysostom is of 
opinion, that he was also one of the first to pay his 
homage to Him in the crib of Bethlehem, on the day of 
His humble Birth. It is he who is the tutelary Archangel 
of the Church, and it is not without good reasons that 
he is believed to be the special guardian also of France. 
The signal aid which this kingdom has at times received 
from him is a strong proof of it. This great prince of 
Paradise has even chosen to have a place specially con- 
secrated to him in this kingdom, within the diocese of 

1 It is a common opinion among divines that, on the mystery 
of the Incarnation being revealed to the angels before the crea- 
tion of man, the pride of Lucifer, highest of all the heavenly 
host, revolted at the thought that human nature should be pre- 
ferred before the angelic, and refused to do homage to the 
Sacred Humanity which was to be hypostatically united with 
the Divinity in the Person of the Son of Mary. Contemplating 
his own perfections, and coveting the prerogatives of the Man- 
God, he said in his heart, " I will be like the Most High" (lea. 
xiv. 14) : to which the glorious Archangel defiantly replied, 
" Mircka'tl — Who is like God ? " 



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138 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



Avranches, which at this day is popularly called Mont 
Saint-Michel, a place famous for the concourse of people 
who flock to it from all quarters, to honour this holy 
Archangel. It is he who assists souls at the dreadful 
hour of death, and who, according to the doctrine of 
St Augustine and St Bonaventura, not only assists them 
at that moment which decides their eternal lot, but also 
introduces them after death into Heaven. It is well 
here to remark, that he awaits the command of the 
august Mother of God to assist in a more especial man- 
ner those souls which she peculiarly favours : such is 
the opinion of St Bonaventura; and fitly, indeed, has 
the will of Heaven reserved this grace to the Queen of 
Heaven. Oh, how sweet it is to live and die under the 
protection of a patroness so loving and so worthy of 
love ! It is St Michael, in fine, who is held to be the 
first of all the angels in glory, and the most exalted of 
the Seraphim. If, then, we love the interests of God 
only, we must love him ; for he is the great saint of the 
cause of God, and of God Incarnate. If we love the 
Church, if we love ourselves, if we have any care for 
our salvation, if we desire to be succoured at the last 
moment of life, we must honour him greatly in all the 
necessities of the Church : for the destruction of schisms 
and heresies; for the establishment of ecclesiastical 
discipline in all its vigour ; for holiness of life in its 
prelates, and specially in the Sovereign Pontiff ; for the 
preservation and increase of the faith in those countries 
where it already exists ; and for the promulgation of the 
gospel in heathen lands. 

St Gabriel is also one of the highest of the Seraphim, 
and when, like St Michael, he is styled an Archangel, 
we must not understand it to be meant thereby that he 
belongs only to the eighth choir of angels ; for this title 



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THE SEVEN BEFORE THE THRONE. 



139 



of Archangel is common to all those who are highest in 
eminence among the princes of Heaven, just as the name 
of angel is applied indifferently to all these blessed 
spirits, of whatever order they may be, as well to the 
Seraphim as to the Angels of the ninth and lowest 
choir. It is St Gabriel who was chosen by God to 
negotiate the mystery of the Incarnation ; and those 
who believe that the Queen of Heaven had a special 
angel-guardian consider that it was to this glorious 
prince that the care of her was entrusted. And even 
according to the opinion of those doctors who think 
that the Mother of God had no angel-guardian, but was 
attended by troops of ministering angels, St Gabriel 
was one of the chiefs of these blessed bands appointed 
to serve her to whom a God did not disdain to subject 
Himself. 

St Eaphael is also one of the seven great princes who 
stand before the throne of the Divine Majesty, as Scrip- 
ture teaches us (Tob. xii. 15) : on this point there is no 
room for doubt. We have but to read in Scripture of 
the services he rendered to Tobias, to love with a holy 
fervour this spirit of Heaven. It is hard, indeed, not 
to experience a sweet tenderness in one's heart at the 
recital of the charitable assistance which he gave him. 
When the father of Tobias sent him to the city of 
Rages, and enjoined him to seek a faithful guide to go 
with him on his journey, St Eaphael appeared to him 
visibly under the form of a young man of great beauty, 
and accompanied him during his whole journey, con- 
soling and instructing him, delivering him from great 
perils, and rendering him unnumbered services. At 
first meeting he salutes him, saying, " Joy be to thee 
always ; " he delivers him from the sea monster who 
was about to devour him ; he procures him wealth, and 



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tiered to Tobias, to love with a rv.- r 
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Jt tenderness in one's heart 
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Tobias sent him to xtjt <**T 
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Pjwrney, St Raphael ax***?* 4 V> *^ * 
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HO 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 



obtains for him a wife ; he hinders the devils from in- 
juring him ; he restores sight to his father ; he be- 
stows upon him and his whole family benedictions of 
heavenly peace, a joy of Paradise, and abundance of 
all good things, both for this life and the next. He 
conducted, as we have already observed, St Macarius the 
Roman during three years, in a visible form, far into 
the desert, having continued to bear him company from 
the time of his quitting Rome, whence he had fled, 
leaving his wife on the day of his marriage while the 
guests were dancing. He cured a novice of the Order 
of St Dominic from the falling sickness, on condition 
of his preserving perfect chastity. He delivered a 
French pilgrim who was on his road to St James of 
Compostella from the hands of robbers ; in fine, it needs 
only to be devout to him to experience the favours 
which he dispenses with a wonderful liberality. 

There are four other princes of Heaven, beside St 
Michael, St Gabriel, and St Raphael, who are nearest 
to the throne of God, but whose names are not known 
with any certainty. Some, however, say that the 
fourth is named Uriel, and they ground their opinion 
on the Book of Esdras, 1 as do St Ambrose and St Bon- 
aventura. Father de Barn relates that a church was 
dedicated to God in honour of these seven princes in 
the city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily ; that there 
was another in the city of Rome, which was consecrated 
by Julius nL ; and that there was even a Confrater- 
nity established in honour of them in the afore-men- 
tioned town of Palermo. He relates, moreover, that 
particular symbols have been appropriated to them by 
which painters might portray them, and that they may 
be seen admirably represented in the same city of 

1 4 Esdras iv. 1. This book is not in the Canon of Scripture. 



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THE SEVEN BEFORE THE THRONE. 141 



Palermo, as well as at Antwerp and in other places. 
St Michael, treacling Lucifer underfoot, bears in his 
left hand a green palm, and holds in his right a lance, 
at the end of which is a standard white as snow, with 
a crimson cross in the centre. St Gabriel appears with 
a torch inclosed in a lantern, which he holds in his 
right hand, the left being engaged in displaying a mirror 
of green jasper sprinkled with hues of divers colours. 
St Raphael is represented with a fish issuing from his 
mouth, holding in his left hand a box, and with his 
right leading the young Tobias. Uriel, or the fourth 
angel, bears in his hand a drawn sword, while the left, 
which hangs by his side, is enveloped in flames. The 
fifth has the bearing of a suppliant, with his eyes mo- 
destly cast down. The sixth has a golden crown in his 
right hand, and a scourge of three black thongs in the 
other. The seventh has at the edge of his mantle, 
which is folded over, a profusion of white roses. I 
have been led to describe these emblems of the angels 
in the hope that it may give some one the wish to have 
them painted ; for it is very certain that even the sight 
of pictures or images of angels inclines to purity and to 
heavenly love. 

However, it is an assured truth that there are seven 
princes who stand before the God of all greatness, since 
Scripture teaches this ; and that they have a special 
power to assist men, since, at the beginning of the 
Apocalypse (i. 4), grace and peace are given in the 
name of these sublime Intelligences. 

Nothing remains for us, then, but to honour them 
devoutly, and to implore their assistance in the ways of 
salvation. Self-love is our greatest enemy : now it has 
been revealed that St Michael is deputed by God to 
destroy it, as St Gabriel, in like manner, is appointed 



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142 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 

to establish the love of God. Here, then, are the two 
great points necessary to salvation : hatred of ourselves, 
and love of God. In order to attain to these, we must 
be rid of all sin, and have acquired the virtues. We 
must have recourse to these seven princes of Paradise, 
that they may obtain for us the grace to avoid the 
seven deadly sins, and may enrich us with the seven 
gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those who travel should 
often recommend themselves to St Raphael ; and, in 
the order of Providence, it appears that it is the will of 
God to employ this angel to assist pilgrims and way- 
farers. 

♦ 

FIFTH PBACTICE. 

To hold Interior Converse with the Holt Angels. 

The life of the Christian is a spiritual life : if, then, we 
live in the spirit, why do we not walk and act in the 
spirit ? We are raised to a supernatural state : being, 
then, in a condition so divine, ought we to live a life 
wholly sensual ? Woe to us who are immersed in flesh 
and blood ; who are like to the idols of the heathen ; 
who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not ! We act 
like men devoid of faith ; this spiritual eye of our soul, 
— it is thus St Augustine describes faith, — remains in- 
active in us, anc^ well-nigh utterly useless. We could 
scarcely be more attached to things of sense, or in a pro- 
founder f orgetfulness of the interior world, if we lived 
amidst Pagan darkness. Ab, what heavenly beauties 
are discoverable in this spiritual world ! What magni- 
ficence, what wonders, what glory ! And it must be 
confessed that the holy angels shine therein conspi- 



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INTERIOR CONVERSE WITH THEM. 143 



cnously, and that, if our conversation, as the Apostle 
testifies (Phil. iiL 20), ought to be heavenly, we are 
under an obligation of conversing frequently with these 
amiable spirits of Heaven. 

St Bernard, that devoted client of the angels, was 
truly of this opinion when, exhorting his brethren to 
be devout to these angelic spirits, he said, " Accustom 
yourselves, my dear brethren, to hold familiar conver- 
sation with the angels, and think often of them ; " and 
what, indeed, are we thinking of when we bestow not a 
thought on these dazzling splendours of Paradise f O 
my God, Thy creatures here below love so much what- 
ever is beautiful, and take such pleasure in contem- 
plating it ; they have such difficulty in detaching 
themselves from it ; they are so ready to converse with 
those on earth who are amiable and attractive: and 
behold the world is full of angels of Paradise, since each 
man has his own, not to speak of so many others sent 
by God, and these angels are perfectly beautiful, and 
endowed with a marvellous power; the sweetness of 
their love for man is most attractive ; they possess all 
imaginable qualities which can inspire a holy love ; add 
to which, they are the princes and kings of the em- 
pyrean, and yet, alas ! scarcely any one thinks of them, 
and it is very rare to meet with persons who hold much 
converse with the angels. " Is it/ 1 says again the Saint 
whom I have just quoted, " that we doubt their presence, 
because we see them not ? " But ought we, then, to 
judge of the presence of things solely by our bodily 
eyes) Have men no souls, because we cannot see 
souls 1 Is God not everywhere, because our senses do 
not perceive His presence ? It is because we have not 
faith, you will reply ; and this is true. We may add to 
this that it is also because we are too much attached to 



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144 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

earthly things : let us, then, weep bitterly over our 
want of faith and our earthly attachments. The holy 
solitaries used to converse familiarly with the angels : it 
was because they lived an angelic life ; and we, miser- 
able creatures that we are, can scarcely think of them 
for a quarter of an hour : it is because our life is alto- 
gether earthly. 

Here is a practice tending to remedy this evil. A 
person standing at a window which opened upon a 
public thoroughfare, was struck with a ray of light 
which sensibly touched his heart : in this heavenly ray 
he discerned that men lived in an incredible oblivion of 
the world of grace. Penetrated with this truth, he set 
himself to listen to what the persons who were passing 
through the street were talking about ; and he heard 
not one word of God, or of the things of God. No one 
spoke except of earth — of fine weather, of eating and 
drinking, of dress, of horses, and such like things. Oh, 
how many angels, he said to himself, are passing by 
here, accompanying these poor people ! Is it possible 
that not one among all this crowd is thinking of these 
princes of Paradise 1 This thought affected him much, 
and then he went to a neighbouring fair, with the object 
of paying his respects to the angels of the persons who 
were flocking thither in crowds from all quarters. He 
sighed when he beheld in so large a gathering so little 
attention paid to the numerous angels present there. 
He went from place to place in order to salute them and 
converse with them. Truly, he exclaimed to himself, 
here are far other sights to be seen than all the 
merchandise and rareties of the fair ! 

This practice is well worthy of our imitation. We 
are in some town, and are walking through the streets 
filled with people : Oh, why, then, do we not contem- 



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INTERIOR CONVERSE WITH THEM. 145 

plate interiorly the angels who accompany all this 
multitude % Why do we not go out sometimes for the 
mere purpose of conversing with them ? You enter a 
church, or some large assembly : Oh, why do you not 
raise yourself above the region of sense and contemplate 
all the holy angels present 1 You are travelling in 
company with others ; you speak to them, you converse 
with them : why not also with their guardian angels 1 

I was told by a person who was given to these prac- 
tices, that he took pleasure in counting the number of 
people he was in company with, so that he might know 
the number of angels who undoubtedly were present ; 
and in course of time the All-Good God, desiring to 
encourage his devotion, rendered him on occasions as 
sensibly conscious of their presence as if he had beheld 
them with his bodily eyes. He told me that sometimes, 
even when seated at dinner, all of a sudden the angels 
made themselves known to him in a manner which he 
could not explain, but which was more evident to him 
than if .they had formed part of the visible company. 
You are journeying along the road : all the villages you 
pass through contain as many angels as there are in- 
habitants. Alas! how many of the great lords of 
Heaven abide in all these places ; and yet these poor 
country-people, far from thinking of them with devotion, 
are scarcely aware of the fact. Why, then, do you not 
pay your court to all these kings of the glorious Paradise ? 
Enow that the more they are neglected, so much the 
more will they favourably regard the honour you show 
them. There are many angels in these villages to whom 
no one will ever give a thought : if you should honour 
them, they will be constrained to make you some return ; 
for, indeed, these blessed spirits do not know what it is 
to be unthankful, and are incomparable in their grati- 



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146 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



tude. You would be very glad to be honoured with the 
gratitude of some prince of the blood-royal, or of some 
of the great monarchs of this world. Why, then, do 
you not enter into the same sweet alliances with 
thousands and thousands of the kings of the heavenly 
court % You sometimes say that you would be glad, 
when on your journeys, to be cheered with the society 
of some pleasant companion: but can you, in truth, 
have anything sweeter or more agreeable than the con- 
versation you may enjoy with these amiable Intelli- 
gences ? You go into the country : why do you not 
choose certain times for conversing in spirit with the 
angels who are there ? Why not retire sometimes into 
your garden, why not take a solitary walk, that you 
may profit by this favour ? 

But what do you say of the presence of your holy 
Angel Guardian 1 Shall he be continually thinking of 
you, and will you scarcely ever think of him? Do 
you believe that a short prayer, morning and evening, 
is a worthy acknowledgment of the favours he bestows 
upon you ? I would have a serious answer to my ques- 
tion : in good truth, if one of the princes of the earth 
were to visit you, would you leave him from morning 
till night all alone, and think you acquitted yourself of 
your duty towards him if you made him an obeisance 
once or twice during the day— especially if all through 
the day he attended you everywhere, and rendered you 
all kinds of services ; while, on the other hand, you 
were yourself some poor disfigured wretch, foul with 
disease and corruption, loathed by all the world, yea, 
condemned to the gibbet for your crimes ? And sup- 
pose you were continually turning your back on this 
obliging prince, what astonishment would you create in 
those who might become acquainted with behaviour so 



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INTERIOR CONVERSE WITH THEM. 



147 



grossly rude and contemptuous ! I ask you, moreover, 
whether your indignation is not excited at the mere 
imagination of such conduct? Tell me, do you feel 
yourself capable of it ? Ob, no : men are not insensible 
where earth is concerned, such insensibility is reserved 
for Heaven : for it is thus you treat the great prince of 
Heaven who is your guardian. O ye angels of Paradise, 
is it possible that you endure such insulting treatment % 
It is most fitting, then, that we should converse with 
our angels ; to leave them without a word would, in- 
deed, be intolerable. 

Choose, therefore, sometimes a quarter of an hour, 
half an hour, an hour, or more, and, retiring apart, 
converse at leisure with your good angel. Place your- 
self on your knees before him, prostrate yourself on the 
ground — for it is well to adopt this practice occasionally 
when alone ; ask his pardon for your ingratitude ; beg 
his holy benediction ; say all that a good heart would 
prompt one to say to a faithful and loving friend. 
Speak to him one while of your needs, of your miser- 
able failings, of your temptations, of your weaknesses ; 
at another of Divine love, and of the holy ways which 
lead to God. Converse with him sometimes concerning 
the offences which men commit against their Sovereign, 
and concerning the divine interests of the Adorable 
Jesus and His most blessed Mother; at other times, 
consider in detail the obligations you are under to him, 
his goodness to you, his beauty, his perfections, his 
admirable qualities. Deal with him as with a kind 
father, as with a mother all tenderness, a true brother, 
an incomparable friend, a zealous lover, a vigilant pastor, 
a charitable guide, the witness of your most important 
secrets, a learned physician to heal all your sores, an 
advocate, and a powerful protector, a compassionate 



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148 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

judge, a king entirely occupied with your welfare ; in- 
voke him in all these characters, and in others which 
your love will suggest to you. They will serve you as 
so many considerations which will make you pass your 
time much more agreeably than with the creatures of 
earth. 

We say that we are dull sometimes, that we have no 
one to speak to, and nothing to do : well, here is an occu- 
pation, here is something for us to do. A nun who had 
no relations, friends, or acquaintance to visit her, was 
asked whether, when she saw the other nuns receiving 
visits, she felt no regret. " Oh, no, indeed ! " she re- 
plied, " for there is a very delightful person with whom 
I converse ; and when I hear that a sister is summoned 
to the parlour, forthwith I go and pay him a visit." 
And when her meaning was not understood, she led the 
way to an image of a holy angel that was in the con- 
vent : " Behold," she said, " my father and my mother, 
and all my kindred and acquaintance. Hither I come 
to converse, while my sisters are talking at the grate ; 
and I retire from my interview at least as well satisfied 
as they." 

We ought also to go in spirit and visit heathen 
lands and heretical countries, to converse with all the 
angels of the inhabitants, so deplorably neglected; to 
mourn with them over the blindness and unbelief of 
these people ; to speak to them of the kingdom of God, 
and to beseech them to labour for its establishment in all 
these nations. We may thus go the whole circuit of 
the earth, honouring successively and day by day the 
angels of each country : sometimes those of Canada, 
sometimes those of China, sometimes those of Japan, 
at other times those of the Indies ; nor must we forget 
the angels of Christian kingdoms. It is also a very 



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INTERIOR CONVERSE WITH THEM. 149 



sweet occupation to ascend in spirit to the Heavenly 
Jerusalem, to converse for an hour sometimes with the 
Seraphim, at other times with the Cherubim, proceeding 
from choir to choir throughout the celestial hierarchies. 
What we have said may suggest matter for such 
conversations. 

In fine, it is a very laudable practice to be in 
the habit of saluting the holy angels of those we meet. 
If we meet some great personage on our road, we salute 
him, as we do also any friend ; and should we meet 
them a hundred times over, we do not fail to pay them 
this civility on each occasion. Is it fitting, then, that 
we should be so unmindful of the princes of Heaven, 
our truest friends ? The thing is so easy ; you would 
not have to make any more obeisances in consequence ; 
all you need do is to make a good intention once for 
all, and enter into a solemn engagement, which you will 
take care to renew at least every week, that as often as 
you salute any one, you purpose at the same time to 
salute his holy angel. Whenever you remember it, 
you will, at the same time that you salute any one, 
secretly within yourself tell his holy angel that you 
salute him also. To this end, accustom yourself to see 
with the eyes of your mind the angels of those whom 
you behold with your bodily eyes ; by degrees it will 
become very easy to you to remember the holy angels, 
and you will receive all sorts of blessings from them. 
When you enter a church, or any place where numbers 
are assembled, do not fail to salute all the angels pre- 
sent ; and when you are in company with intimate 
friends, it will be well to say one to another aloud, u I 
salute your holy angel." I have seen the pious prac- 
tice of which I speak solidly established through this 
means; so that it became the custom in a company, 



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150 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

both on entering and departing, when mutual saluta- 
tions were exchanged, to say aloud, " I salute your holy 
angel." Others, when writing to a friend, never neglect 
to conclude their letter with a salutation to the holy 
angel of the person whom they are addressing ; some- 
times even begging him in the name of both to salute 
the angels of the places where each resides. O my 
God ! is not this what we do every day in regard to our 
miserable fellow-creatures ? And why should we not 
at least pay the same respect to these favourites of Jesus 
and Mary ? 

It will be said that these are extraordinary devotions, 
and I confess they are so ; but it must also be confessed 
that they ought to be very ordinary. It is an extra- 
ordinary thing to see a man or woman who is a true 
saint ; it is an extraordinary thing to see even Christian 
families, in the very cities and towns of Christendom, 
in which the love of God reigns, and from which sin 
has been banished. Alas ! all the world is immersed 
in the malice of sin ; but is that a reason for exclaim- 
ing when we exhort persons to aim at what is therefore 
extraordinary 1 Must we be found fault with because 
we preach holiness, the love of God, and the destruction 
of sin 1 It is true that devotion to the holy angels is 
rare, that interior converse with these heavenly spirits 
is uncommon ; but it is this very thing which we ought 
to lament with tears. In letters written by Turks, the 
name of Mahomet everywhere appears ; and Christians 
who make an especial profession of piety will declaim 
against a letter in which the Name of God is frequently 
mentioned, or in which an attempt is made to show 
respect to the holy angels! At the end of the last 
century, that celebrated holy man, Father de Boyas, 
confessor to Queen Margaret at the court of Spain, not 



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N0VENAS IN THEIR HONOUR. 151 

only used openly to salute the courtiers with the words, 
"Ave, Maria," but even established this practice so firmly 
that the queen commonly saluted the king in like manner ; 
and God was pleased to reward the devotion of this great 
queen, and to stamp this pious practice with His appro- 
bation, by a signal miracle performed in the person of 
this princess, upon occasion of her confessor saluting 
her with these holy words. That man of God used to 
place them at the beginning of all his letters, and, no 
doubt, he did not want for censurers in consequence — 
for some persons always disapprove of what they are 
not in the habit of doing themselves — but after his 
death, God plainly manifested, by the miracles with 
which He honoured him, that Heaven often bestows its 
approbation on what the men of this world condemn. 

♦ 

SIXTH PRACTICE. 

To Perform Novenas in Honour of the Nike Choirs of 
Angels. 

Catholics teach that we must not have a superstitious 
regard to numbers, and this is the doctrine of Holy 
Church; but we may also say, without superstition, 
that there are certain mysterious numbers consecrated 
by the piety of the faithful : as that of forty, which, 
the holy Fathers remark, was sanctified in the Person 
of our Lord, and in those of the ancient prophets ; 
that of three, which, being multiplied by three, forms 
the number nine, which represents to us the Most Holy 
Trinity ; this is why in Heaven there are three hier- 
archies of angels, and each hierarchy is composed of 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY A NOELS. 



three choirs ; and it is amongst these nine choirs that 
the elect will be placed. Hence it is that the devotion 
of noveiias has been popularised by the pious custom 
of the faithful ; and the seraphic St Teresa informs us 
that she practised this devotion, and performed numer- 
ous novenas in her various needs. 

It is, then, a praiseworthy practice to perform no- 
venas, and especially in honour of the nine choirs of 
angels, to which we have peculiar motives to excite us. 
I can bear witness to the extraordinary graces which 
have been the fruit of this devotion. I have seen mar- 
vellous things take place while the holy angels were 
being honoured by this exercise, and the power of the 
devils ruined in matters of serious importance ; and it 
is a most efficacious means for obtaining the assistance 
of Heaven in public calamities and private necessities. 

We have already spoken at some length of the assist- 
ance which the holy angels render us in all our needs, 
whether bodily or spiritual, and we shall again recur to 
the subject in the course of this treatise. We have ob- 
served that, among these celestial bands, the Archangels 
and the Principalities ought to be particularly invoked 
for the welfare of kingdoms and provinces, and for those 
who rule them; and so, again, that the angels who 
have the more immediate care of the visible heavens, the 
elements, and seasons, ought to be invoked in time of 
war, pestilence, famine, and other public afflictions; 
the Powers, against sorcerers, magicians, and their 
spells ; against the devils, their rage, and their malice ; 
the Virtues, for obtaining of an All-Merciful God ex- 
traordinary aid in our necessities, since it is these 
blessed spirits whom God often employs to work His 
wonders and miracles, according to the testimony of St 
Gregory, as we have already noticed. We refer the 



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153 



reader to what we have said concerning the nine choirs 
of angels in the first three chapters of this second 
treatise ; and he can read on the vigil of each day of 
the novena so much as regards the choir which he in- 
tends to honour on the morrow. 

We will here furnish some directions in a few 
words. Let the first day of the novena be devoted to 
honouring the angels of the lowest choir ; we may ask of 
them faith, which is the beginning and the foundation 
of the spiritual life. On the second day we may ven- 
erate the Archangels, and ask of them zeal in the cause 
of Him whom faith makes known to us, begging that 
the same knowledge which comes of faith may be im- 
parted to all unbelievers and heretics. On the third 
day the Principalities ; praying for the preservation 
and augmentation of faith in Catholic countries ; and, as 
faith ought to be accompanied with a good life, we will 
offer our prayers for the extirpation of sin and for the 
reformation of the inner man. On the fourth day we 
may honour the Powers ; invoking their aid against the 
might of those devils who war against us in the ways 
of faith, and counteract our designs of Christian morti- 
fication. On the fifth day, the Virtues; imploring 
their help to surmount the difficulties which the flesh 
and the world oppose to us in the paths of the spiritual 
life, and to obtain a holy generosity in the exercise of 
the Christian virtues. The sixth day may be given to 
the Dominations, in order that we may know the re- 
quirements of God, what He asks of us, and that His 
Divine will may be manifested to us. The seventh day 
to the Thrones, that they may obtain for us a perfect 
subjection and an entire abandonment to the will of 
God, wherein consists that peace which passes all ima- 
gination. The eighth day may be devoted to the 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



Cherubim, for the establishment of the light of Jesus 
Christ in us, and a renunciation of all the maxims of 
the world opposed to it. The ninth day to the Sera- 
phim, for the reign and triumph of pure love in our 
hearts. 

The same devotion may be practised in time of public 
calamities, which come upon us and continue to afflict 
us because we fail to look sufficiently to their cause. 
We attribute them to this person and to that, while wo 
ought to accuse ourselves and our own sins. God 
strikes us only that we may look to Him, whereas we 
keep our eyes always fixed on creatures. We ask for 
His peace, and we are ever fighting against Him ; our 
lives remain unchanged and our sins increase. Oh, 
how needful to us is the succour of the holy angels ! 
and how good it is to perform novenas in their honour, 
beseeching them to appease the just anger of God, and 
to labour for the destruction of sin, His cruel enemy, 
and for the ruin of all the plots of the powers of hell I 

This devotion of novenas is also very profitable to us 
as a preparation for the due celebration of the feasts of 
our Lord and of His blessed Mother ; conversing each 
day with the angels of the choir we mean to honour, 
expressing to them our desire to love our gracious 
Master and our loving Mistress ; entreating them to 
supply our lack of love, and to thank Them, praise 
Them, and bless Them for us, and to obtain for us a solid 
devotion to Them, which may ever increase more and 
more. 

Now, in order to perform these novenas well, every 
one can follow the attraction of grace and the advice of 
some good servant of God. However, to facilitate the 
practice, we will suggest that those who are able can 
have nine Masses celebrated in honour of the nine 



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choirs of angels, burn nine candles, give nine alms; 
at least they can hear nine Masses with that intention, 
perform nine acts of mortification, whether exterior or 
interior, make nine genuflexions every day, recite the 
Angelical Salutation nine times, if they have not suffi- 
cient leisure to say nine Paters, a pious exercise, which, 
it may be remarked, was revealed by Heaven to St 
Mecthilde ; they can visit nine times some chapel or 
altar dedicated to God in honour of the holy angels, 
or the altar where the Blessed Sacrament reposes, and 
where the princes of God's court attend upon Him. 
Besides this, they can communicate according to the 
advice of their director ; place themselves on their knees 
three times a day, in the morning, about noon, and in 
the evening, prostrating themselves before the angels of 
the choir which they meaq to honour particularly that 
day ; and during the course of the day they may address 
to them many ejaculatory prayers, and endeavour to 
converse for some space of time with these spirits of 
love. If several persons should unite together, they 
would draw down more abundant benedictions : in this 
case each can choose a day to visit some church, or 
some poor persons, and, if possible, to fast, so that 
a perpetual fast may be maintained during the whole 
of the novena. 

♦ 

SEVENTH PRACTICE. 

To take Certain Days evert Month and every Week foe 
the Purpose op Honouring more especially the Holy 
Angels, and to Celebrate their Feasts with all 
Possible Devotion. 

I know of a holy community of Carmelite nuns, where 
every month they select one of the nine choirs of the 



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156 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



holy angels to pay it peculiar honour; and as three 
months remain of the twelve in the year, these three 
months are devoted to some one of the choirs towards 
which they feel more peculiarly drawn ; as, for instance, 
that of the Seraphim. My dear readers, it is in your 
power to do the very same thing; the practice is an 
easy one. 

If you like, you can choose the first nine days of each 
month to pay your respects to these angelic spirits, and 
then select some other days for invoking those angels 
to whom you are specially indebted ; or, if you have 
the good will to undertake it, you might apply yourself 
on Sundays to honour the Seraphim, Cherubim, and 
Thrones; on Mondays, the Dominations, the Virtues, 
and the Powers : on Tuesdays, the Principalities, Arch- 
angels, and Angels ; on We<Jnesdays, the angels of un- 
believers and heretics; on Thursdays, the angels of 
kingdoms and provinces, of churches and altars, and 
specially those who attend on our Divine King in the 
Most Holy Sacrament ; on Fridays, the angels of your 
enemies, or of such persons as are a cause of trouble to 
you, or from whom you have reason to apprehend some 
injury ; on Saturdays, the angels of your relatives and 
friends, and of those with whom you most frequently 
associate ; if you belong to a community, of those with 
whom you live, particularly your spiritual friends and 
your director. These angels take much greater interest 
in your welfare than you imagine. Do not forget the 
angels of the town or village where you reside. 

As for the angel who is your guardian, every day of 
your life ought to be a day of devotion to him, and of 
thanksgiving for his marvellous goodness to you. Some 
set apart their birthday as an especial festival in his 
honour, doing exactly as they would upon the festivals 



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of those saints to whom they have the greatest devotion, 
both in the way of preparation and in keeping the 
octave. In addition, those whose circumstances permit 
of it, give as many alms in his honour as they have 
lived years, or else make as many acts of some virtue, 
or offer as many acts of devotion to their amiable guar- 
dian. 

I knew a person who used at such times to distribute 
the years of his life over several days, in order to con- 
sider at leisure the mercies of God towards him ; the 
misfortunes from which he had been preserved or de- 
livered, whether affecting body or soul ; the graces he 
had received from the infinite goodness of the Adorable 
Jesus; the protection of the most holy Virgin, and 
that of the angels and saints. Such considerations 
powerfully touch the heart when they are well made ; 
and as our holy angel is the minister whom God 
employs to shield us from all evil, and to convey to us 
His benefits, this furnishes full occasion to thank him 
and to bless him in detail for all his loving care in our 
youth, in more advanced years, and in our old age, if 
we have attained it, carefully calling to mind the prin- 
cipal things which have occurred to us in the course of 
our life. We ought at least to remember that Tuesday 
is a day dedicated to the honour of the holy angels ; 
and this day ought to be one of great devotion with 
such as love them. The twenty-ninth of September is 
the day of the great feast of St Michael and of all the 
other angels. The eighth of May is the feast of his 
Apparition on Mount Garganus. And in Normandy 
the sixteenth of October is observed in commemoration 
of the Apparition of this glorious Archangel on the Hill 
of Tombe, commonly called Mont Saint-Michel 

This place is very famous owing to the concourse of 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



persons who flock to it from all quarters to pay their 
homage to this amiable prince of Heaven; and the 
great miracles which the Omnipotence of God has 
worked there are prevailing motives to excite the devo- 
tion of the faithful more and more to honour on this 
holy hill the God of all mercy, and to implore the 
succour of the highest prince in His heavenly court. 
Pilgrimages may be undertaken to this holy spot for 
every manner of need, but especially for deliverance 
from the temptations and assaults of the malignant 
spirits, and to obtain purity of mind and body and an 
invincible fortitude in the ways of salvation. Those 
who are devoted to the interests of our Lord Jesus 
Christ and His most holy Mother, ought to address 
themselves to this glorious Archangel, who so zealously 
maintained Their cause from the very beginning of the 
world; it would be desirable, however, that persons 
should perform this pilgrimage with more devotion than 
is usually seen, conversing together of God as they 
journey along, raising their hearts often to our Lord 
and to His most holy Mother, imploring the aid of St 
Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael, and all the nine choirs 
of angels ; being very watchful to avoid all manner of 
sin; and finally, on reaching their destination, not 
neglecting to confess and communicate. A voice from 
Heaven made known that this place is very agreeable 
to God and frequented by holy angels. Truly such an 
oracle must serve to soften any hardships which may be 
incurred in visiting this sacred mount ; and it is sweeter 
than words can express, or the imagination can conceive, 
to find one's self in a spot so dear to God and the con- 
stant resort of the princes of His court. 

Divine Providence has even ordered that it should 
not be any man of this earth, however holy, but a pure 



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spirit of Heaven, and the highest of all the blessed 
spirits, who should consecrate the church; for St Aubert, 
Bishop of Avranches, when about to perform that cere- 
mony, was prevented by St Michael, who apprised him 
that he himself had already consecrated it. This is the 
holy bishop to whom the Archangel appeared on three 
several occasions, more than nine hundred years ago, to 
inform him that the Hill of Tombe was under his pro- 
tection and that of all the other angels ; and that it was 
the will of God that a church should be built in their 
honour. On the third occasion he touched the good 
bishop's head, and left thereon a mark which is visible 
to this day. 1 An admirable prodigy likewise occurred, 
for a rock, which stood there, proving an impediment to 
the convenient erection of the sanctuary of the church, 
the Archangel directed that an infant still in its cradle 
should be brought to the spot, and on the child touch- 
ing the rock with its foot, immediately it fell and left 
the necessary space for the sanctuary. Blessed are the 
chaste and the innocent, the pure and clean of heart, 
since they are so dear to God and to His angels ! 

St Michael, not content with working all these won- 
ders, and desiring to bestow still greater visible tokens 
of his favour upon the holy Mount of Tombe, commanded 
St Aubert to send to Mount Garganus, and ask, in his 
name, for a portion of the vermilion cloth which he had 
left there, and for a fragment of the marble on which 
he was seated when he appeared on that mountain in 
human form ; which being granted at the request 
of the good .bishop's deputies, twelve blind persons, at 

1 The cathedral of Avranches, as is well known, was levelled 
to the ground, not one stone being left upon another, and all its 
sacred treasures scattered to the winds, by the impious revolu- 
tionists of the last century. 



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160 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



different places, received their sight by touching these 
holy things; and near the Mount of Tombe a blind 
woman also had her sight restored, whereat the people 
were so deeply moved, that, in memory of so great a 
miracle, the village, which had been heretofore called 
Asteriat, was named Beauvoir, and so it is called at this 
present day. I enjoyed the honour and the blessing of 
beholding, in this very year 1667, on the day of the 
feast of the Apparition of the glorious St Michael, at 
this sacred spot, these precious tokens of the incompar- 
able love of this great prince of Paradise for men, as 
also the shield and the sword which are preserved there 
in the treasury of the church, and which are additional 
proofs of his marvellous goodness. The shield is adorned 
with little crosses, and its material is brass, as is that 
also of the sword ; these are also gifts of the Archangel, 
which he made on the occasion of a miracle wrought 
in Great Britain by his invincible strength, and which 
he commanded to be brought to this place. 

History relates that there was a dragon there of a 
monstrous size, who, poisoning the waters with his 
venom, infecting the air with his breath, and killing 
every one he met, had rendered the country around 
almost uninhabitable. This affliction constrained the 
bishop of the place to have recourse to God ; and, after 
having proclaimed a three days' fast, and given abundant 
alms, all the inhabitants armed themselves and marched, 
accompanied by the clergy, who walked in procession, 
imploring the succour of Heaven to give strength to the 
people to destroy the dragon; but great was their 
astonishment when, having nearly reached the place of 
his retreat, they found him dead, with the aforemen- 
tioned shield and sword lying by him • and while they 
were wondering who it was that had been able to kill 



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161 



this monster with such feeble weapons, St Michael 
appeared to the bishop, and told him that it was he who 
had slain the dragon ; and that, although he needed not 
those weak arms to effect his purpose, yet he had been 
pleased to make use of them, that he might leave visible 
tokens of the assistance he had rendered. He then com- 
manded these arms to be carried to the church on the 
Mount of Tombe, where they are still preserved with 
singular veneration. 

Since it has pleased God, about three years ago, to 
manifest anew in our days the great St Gaudentius, 
Bishop of Evreux, through the discovery of his holy body 
five leagues from Mont Saint-Michel, it has appeared 
to me that our Lord would be glorified if, when speaking 
of the miracles He has wrought to the glory of the 
angels on the Mount of Tombe, I said a word of those 
He works at this present time near that holy hill in 
honour of this truly angelic man. Entirely given to 
God, having no longer about him anything of this earth, 
and seeming to breathe only the air of Paradise, he vol- 
untarily resigned the government of the see of Evreux, 
and quitted the society of men that he might converse 
only with the angels in solitude. Having left, then, his 
dear flock, who accompanied him for the distance of two 
leagues from the town of Evreux to a spot where, in 
memory of this last farewell, a holy chapel was built in 
honour of the Blessed Virgin, who is the special Lady 
and Patroness of this diocese, and in honour of St 
Michael, which chapel is commonly called Ndtre Dame 
de Gaud, this great prelate retired into a solitary dis- 
trict near Granville, on the sea shore, five leagues, as we 
have said, from Mont Saint-Michel, where, having ended 
his days and left his precious relics, God, who delights 
in manifesting those who hide themselves for the love 

L 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



of Him, was not contented with glorifying him at the 
period of his holy death, but five hundred years after- 
wards made known his glory by the first invention of 
his body, which was then found perfectly uncorrupted, 
and was suffered to remain in the sepulchre where he 
had been interred. Many miracles occurred at that 
time, and it became a place of resort for afflicted persons ; 
but in the lapse of ages, about five hundred years and 
more after this first invention, it pleased Divine Provi- 
dence to reveal once again the greatness of this saint by 
the second invention of his relics about three years ago, 
followed in like manner by many miracles ; on which 
account the place has become very famous, and a most 
favourable spot for those who desire to implore the inter- 
cession of St Gaudentius. I should be most ungrateful 
were I not to publish the help I myself received from 
this great saint, in a dangerous illness, when the phy- 
sicians had pronounced my case to be hopeless. Blessed 
for ever be God for His great mercies, which He never 
ceases to bestow on men through the merits of His most 
blessed Mother, His angels, and His saints. Near the 
tomb of St Gaudentius is that of St Paternus, Bishop 
of Avranches, and of the Abbot St Scubilion, who were 
his companions in his retreat. St Senator is also buried 
there, as well as many other holy persons. Remains 
are still visible of the hermitages of these saintly 
recluses. 

The feast of St Gabriel is celebrated on the eighteenth 
of March, and in some places on the twenty-fourth of 
the same month, the vigil of the feast of the sacred 
Mother of God. That of St Raphael is kept on the 
twentieth of November, and in some places on one of 
the Sundays occurring between Easter and Pentecost 
That of the Guardian Angels is solemnised on the first 



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day of October not occupied by a feast of nine lessons , 
and it is also celebrated on the first day of March. All 
these ought to be great days with such as are devout to 
the holy angels. They should hear Mass and communi- 
cate in honour of them ; practise some mortification or 
do some work of charity j but besides this, at least for 
one, if not for more, of these feasts special preparation 
ought to be made. St Francis used to fast forty days 
to prepare himself for the feast of St Michael ; and it 
was during this quarantine that a Seraph imprinted on 
him the sacred stigmata. St Elisabeth used to observe 
the same practice, fasting on bread and water. I have 
already spoken of St Mecthilde, who, having asked our 
Lord what she could do to honour the angels, He re- 
plied, " Daughter, you will say the Pater nine times in 
honour of their nine choirs." To these she added nine 
more in honour of her good angel, that he might pre- 
sent this her devotion to these glorious spirits. A 
preparation for their festivals might be made by a 
novena, according to the manner indicated in the last 
chapter. Moreover, we must not forget to keep their 
octaves, performing each day some pious duty towards 
these princes of Heaven. 

Care should be taken to recite the offices and litanies 
of these holy spirits, at least on certain days, and at cer- 
tain times of the year. There is a rosary which can be 
said in honour of our holy angel-guardian. At the cross 
we say the Credo, or the Te Deum, followed by the 
Paternoster and the Ave Maria ; then upon the large 
beads, either the Gloria Patri or the Ave Maria; and 
upon all the little beads, the Angele Dei;i or those who 

1 u Angele Dei, qui custos es mei, me tibi commissum pietat* 
superna illumina, custodi, et guberna." 
" Angel of God, who art my guardian, enlighten, guard, 



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164 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 



do not know the short prayer, may say the words, " My 
good angel, I love thee, and desire to love thee." If 
we wish to say it in honour of all the nine choirs, we 
may make use of these other words : " Holy angels, I 
love you, and desire to love you." The use of ejacula- 
tory prayers is wonderfully profitable. If you love the 
heavenly spirits you will often converse with them, and 
pour forth your heart in their presence ; nothing can be 
easier to a heart that loves than to tell them of its grief 
for the ingratitude of men, its astonishment at the for- 
getfulness in which they live of their perfections and 
their goodness ; nothing easier than to express its own 
gratitude for their care, and its desire to profit by it ; 
nothing easier than to call them to our assistance in our 
necessities, and to beseech them to interest themselves 
for us with Jesus and Mary, in order to render Them 
favourable to us, to say to Them what we would desire 
to say, but alas ! are not able. We understand nothing 
of the language of the court of Paradise ; and we need 
the intervention of these princes of the court to speak 
for us. We may express all this during the course of 
the day in two or three fervent words, sometimes in 
one way, and sometimes in another. 

I had almost forgotten to mention a practice which 
will enable you to keep a festival, sometimes to one 
angel, and sometimes to another. With this view you 
must form the intention, when you keep the feast of 
any saint, to keep, at the same time, that of the holy 
angel who was his guardian here below. This will not 
multiply your devotions : you have only to make the 
intention of honouring the holy angel of the saint by 

direct, and govern me, who have been committed to thee by 
the divine mercy.** 

The above prayer is indulgenced. 



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165 



all the good works you shall perform in the saint's hon- 
our, and by this means you will spend the whole year 
in keeping the feasts of different angels. You will thus 
lay an obligation on the saints to offer your homage to 
these glorious spirits, to whom they are so greatly in- 
debted ; you will gain the favour of all these angels, 
and will draw down upon yourself the sweetest bene- 
dictions of Paradise. 

— ♦ 

EIGHTH PKACTICE. 

To Visit Chubches and Oratories Dedicated to God in 
Honour op the Holy Angels. 

The heretics, to whom all piety is odious, blame pilgrim- 
ages, which the Holy Catholic Church approves, and 
holds in such high estimation, that the Sovereign 
Pontiff, who is its head, even when granting other 
faculties, often reserves to himself the power of dis- 
pensing with vows to perform pilgrimages to Borne, 
Jerusalem, and St James of Compostella. God suffi- 
ciently marks the favour with which He regards such 
devotions, by attaching so many graces and especial 
favours to these places which He does not bestow else- 
where. We may, it is true, and we ought to have 
recourse to His fatherly kindness, and implore the pro- 
tection of the most holy Virgin, and of the angels and 
saints, in all places, and in all churches and chapels 
whatsoever ; but it cannot be denied that there are 
certain localities which this God of Mercy honours with 
miracles, which He does not do elsewhere ; testifying 
by these tokens of a power and goodness extraordinary 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



His approbation of the devotion of the pilgrims who 
flock thither from all quarters. We have saints, re- 
cognised as such in the Catholic Church, who spent the 
greater part of their lives in this kind of devotion ; and 
the great Archbishop of Milan, St Charles Borromeo, 
had such a high esteem for it that, laden as he was with 
important affairs, and encountering, as he failed not to 
do, the contradiction of persons of the most exalted rank, 
he undertook many pilgrimages, and those long and 
arduous ones, under circumstances of no little difficulty. 
The church of Mount Garganus, dedicated to God in 
honour of St Michael, is one of those celebrated places 
to which pilgrims resort from all parts ; and Otho III., 
Emperor as he was, walked to it barefoot from the city 
of Rome, although the distance is very great. 

But as there are few who are able to make such long 
journeys, we may, as a substitute, pay a devout visit to 
some chapel or altar dedicated in honour of this prince 
of the heavenly hosts, or of the other holy angels. For 
some years past it has pleased our Lord to reawaken in 
men's hearts devotion to these blessed spirits in the city 
of Rouen, the capital of Normandy ; for which purpose 
He inclined the hearts of a number of devout persons 
to go every month and visit a chapel which is built upon 
a high hill, in the neighbourhood of that great city, in 
honour of the Archangel St Michael This is how the 
thing occurred, as I have been informed : — Two or three 
servants of God, while performing their devotions in a 
celebrated church, where the most holy Virgin is in- 
voked under the title of N6tre Dame de Bon Secours, 
felt themselves moved to go and pray at the door of the 
aforenamed chapel of St Michael, which is at no great 
distance. They were greatly affected at seeing it in such 
an abandoned condition, although it had formerly been 



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167 



the object of great devotion, as is evident from the testi- 
mony of ancient writers, and from the mere inspection 
of what still remains of a road leading to it, paved with 
large stones, which must have been constructed with 
much cost and labour. They immediately resolved to 
repair to the spot from time to time, and some other 
persons to whom they communicated their plan entered 
readily into it. Now it has pleased the God of All 
Goodness to bestow so great a blessing on this devo- 
tion that, in the course of a few years — for, indeed, 
it is only recently begun — such multitudes have 
visited this chapel on the day chosen at the beginning of 
each month, as to make it requisite to have the sermon 
preached outside the building ; and a touching sight it 
is to behold all this crowd modestly seated on the sum- 
mit of the hill, and listening in deep silence to the dis- 
course pronounced in praise of the holy angels ; for a 
preacher is always secured for every month, and the 
Holy Mass celebrated, at which numbers communicate. 
This devotion having been suggested in consequence of 
a visit to N6tre Dame de Bon Secours, we have good 
reason to believe that it was a favour bestowed by this 
Queen of Angels, and a signal effect of her "good 
help." 

Another devotional practice I have witnessed else- 
where ; which is that at the approach of the feast St 
Michael, or at the beginning of March, persons are 
deputed to go during nine days and pay their respects 
to the holy angels in one of the chapels dedicated to 
them; and sometimes nine persons acquit themselves 
each day of this duty, not to mention many others who 
go and offer their prayers every morning and evening ; 
every day the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated, 
and nine tapers are kept burning. 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



NINTH PRACTICE. 

to place great confidence in the protection of the holy 
Angels, and to have Recourse to them in all our Neces- 
sities, Bodily and Spiritual. 

" They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion ; 
he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusa- 
lem. Mountains are round about it : so the Lord is 
round about His people" (Ps. cxxiv. 1, 2). Now, these 
mountains, which serve as impregnable bulwarks and 
fortresses to the soul which places all its hopes in the 
God of mercies, are none other than the holy angels ; 
these are the holy mountains of the Psalmist (cxx. 1), 
whence he looked confidently for help. Oh, how 
blessed is that soul which lives under such protection ! 
It shall be delivered from the snare of the hunters ; 
it shall not be afraid of the terror of the night ; the 
arrow that flieth in the day shall not hurt it, nor the 
plottings of darkness, nor the noon-day devil. While 
a thousand fall on its right hand, and ten thousand 
on its left, it shall abide in safety, because it is in the 
keeping of the angels. It shall walk upon the asp and 
the basilisk ; it shall trample under foot the lion and 
the dragon, and shall receive no injury (Ps. xc. 3-13). 
Its abode is so sure and lofty that evil cannot approach 
it ; it shall fly like the eagles in mid-air without fear, 
and shall take its flight to the height of heaven, borne 
up by these glorious celestial powers. Whether it go 
or come, the angels accompany it as its guard ; these 
are the warriors of whom the prophet Zacharias speaks 
(ix. 8), who encompassed the house of the Lord ; they 
shall keep it in the midst of them, as heretofore they 
kept the heroic Machabeus, and will cover it on every 



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CONFIDENCE IN THEIR PROTECTION. 1 69 

side with their arms, rushing on its adversaries, and 
casting darts and tremendous fire-balls at all its enemies 
(2 Mach. x. 29, 30). 

" Why, then, should we fear," exclaimed St Bernard, 
"seeing that we have friends so faithful, wise, and 
powerful?" " Joy be to thee always," said St Raphael 
the Archangel to Tobias (v. 11, 15); " I will conduct 
thee and bring thee back." And, truly, I do not see 
how we ever can be sad, being assisted in all our ways 
by such powerful help. If monsters should come up 
to devour us, our faithful guardians will easily deliver 
us out of their jaws. Let all hell conspire against us, 
let all mankind take up arms to destroy us, our hearts 
ought to fear nothing, if the choirs of angels grant us 
their protection. How sweet to think of this multi- 
tude of angels of whom we have spoken in the first 
treatise of this little work, and to know that all are 
engaged in the service of men ! Whithersoever, then, 
I may go, and in whatever place I may find myself, I 
have thousands of millions of these soldiers of Heaven 
watching to defend me. O my soul ! why art thou 
troubled ? Why all this anxiety ? Seest thou not that 
all Heaven is fighting for thy salvation ? It seems to 
thee sometimes that thou art lonely and forsaken, de- 
prived of all human succour ; but why dost thou not 
remember that thou hast around thee an army of ter- 
rible might, composed of an innumerable multitude of 
invincible warriors, who accompany and protect thee ? 
While we sleep there are more eyes open to watch over 
our safety than there are stars in the firmament. 
Though all the creatures on earth should rise up against 
us on every side, yet are there more angels of Paradise 
to defend us than there are atoms in the sun's rays and 
drops of water in the ocean. 



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170 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

Let us say, then, O my soul ! We have more with us 
than our adversaries have with them. But oh, the 
blindness of men! Nothing affects us but what we 
behold with the eyes of flesh. We are feelingly alive 
to the presence of earthly creatures, as we are also to 
their withdrawal ; when we see a good number on 
our side, or standing against us, our poor hearts expand 
with joy or contract with sadness ; in vain are we re- 
minded of the succours of Heaven : it is a language of 
which we understand nothing — in this resembling the 
servant of Eliseus, 1 who, beholding the numerous array 
of picked and veteran troops sent by the king of Syria 
to capture his master, could not be reassured by any- 
thing the holy prophet could say to dispel his fears. 
In vain did he tell him that they had more with them 
for their defence, this poor man gave heed to nothing 
but what he saw ; the invincible bands of the God of 
Hosts failed to encourage him, because they were not 
visible to him — herein how different from the man of 
God, who acted by faith, and whose confidence St 
Ambrose has so highly extolled, exclaiming at the 
thought of it, " Oh, the faith of the holy prophet ! He 
fears not his enemies whom he sees, because he knows 
that the angels of God are with him, although he 
sees them not. But oh, the goodness of God! The 
holiness of a man," adds this Father, "draws more 
defenders down to him from Heaven than the malice 
of men raises up adversaries to him on earth." What 
need have we in the midst of our darkness to betake 
ourselves to prayer, like that holy man, when he 
perceived his servant's want of faith, and to say with 
him, " O Lord, open our eyes :" not to obtain a 
miracle, and to have mountains full of horses and 
1 4 Kings vi. 15. 



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CONFIDENCE IN THEIR PROTECTION. 171 

chariots of fire disclosed to us, but to increase our faith, 
and make us live by it, and act always by this same 
virtue. 

I must declare that I am perfectly astonished when I 
reflect upon the little confidence which men place in the 
protection of Heaven. " Oh, the avarice of the human 
heart ! 99 said our Lord once to St Teresa : it feels as if the 
very ground were slipping from under it. Everywhere 
there is nothing but anxiety, as in temporal things so in 
spiritual. Men could not be more attached to human 
means if there were no Providence. But how sad it is to 
behold spiritual persons, under the pretext of prudence, 
so immersed in solicitude about everything that con- 
cerns them, and placing so much reliance on their own 
diligence. Oh, the accursed prudence of the flesh ! I 
hold thee in eternal abhorrence. O loving Providence 
of my God ! I abandon myself without reserve into Thy 
hands. Let men say and do what they will, let them 
combine against us as much as they please, I know, O 
my God — I know it without a shadow of doubt — I 
know it with more certainty than I know that I am 
writing these lines — that in spite of all the efforts and 
all the rage of devils, Thy divine counsels shall be 
accomplished. He whom Thou wiliest to save shall 
never be lost, unless he wills it himself ; in vain may 
men cast him down, when they think that he will never 
rise again — then it is that Thou wilt render him more 
glorious. Thou raisest him from the dust and mire of 
the earth, from the dunghill to which his humiliations 
had abased him, to make him sit with the princes of 
Thy people, and to give him a throne of glory. Oh, 
who is like unto Thee, who inhabitest the Heavens, 
and lookest down from Thy sanctuary with favour 
upon the meanest things of the earth, putting down the 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



mighty from their seat, and exalting the humble ? Full 
well dost Thou manifest what Thou art, as is written 
of Thee in the Book of Wisdom (xvi. 8-10); giving 
death to the enemies of Thy people, and putting their 
adversaries to flight by the bitings of flies, whilst Thou 
givest victory to Thy children and to all Thy servants, 
whom not even the teeth of venomous serpents could 
overcome. 

Let us, then, turn all our thoughts to the Lord, and 
commit all our cares to His Divine Providence, who 
watches over us by His holy angels with ineffable 
goodness. Let us lift up our hands and our eyes to- 
wards these holy mountains in all places and on all 
occasions. I have sufficiently shown the powerful help 
we receive from them both in spiritual and in temporal 
matters; and I will here only add to what has been already 
said, that on a thousand occasions angels have appeared 
in visible form to bring miserable sinners to the con- 
fession of their sins, and to the sacrament of penance. 
They have often administered the Most Holy Sacrament 
of the Altar : as to St Onuphrius, to whom they car- 
ried it every eight days in the desert. They assist in 
great numbers at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as St 
Nilus testifies ; and he relates that St John Chrysostom 
saw them diligently assisting the priests when they 
were giving communion to the people. They some- 
times make responses at Holy Mass, as occurred in the 
case of St Oswald, the bishop. They join with men in 
their prayers, and recite them with them, as happened 
to the great St Ouen, Archbishop of Rouen, who had a 
singular devotion to the most holy Virgin, their Queen ; 
for this holy man having commenced a verse of a Psalm 
in the church of St Peter at Rome, he heard the angels 
finishing it. Sometimes they show to those who fight 



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173 



for Jesus Christ the glorious crowns which are prepared 
for them. 

When a heart experiences some difficulty in giving 
itself perfectly to God only, it need but address itself 
to them. St Ignatius found the advantage of it ; and 
it was the means he employed to gain St Francis Xavier; 
thus it is to these glorious spirits that Japan owes her 
apostle. The holy Order of the Carmelites has given 
to our own France souls admirable for their saintliness ; 
and here again it is to the holy angels to whom we are 
indebted ; for St Michael, the highest of these sublime 
Intelligences, appeared in complete armour, like a war- 
rior returning from battle, to the Venerable Anne de 
Saint-Barthelemi, when the resolution was taken of bring- 
ing these holy virgins from the kingdom of Spain into 
France, notwithstanding all the opposition of hell ; this 
archangel desiring thereby to make known the victory 
he had gained over the demons, and over the obstacles 
which men had opposed. In fine, our Lord, by em- 
ploying the ministry of angels at His Birth, during 
His Life, after His Death, and at His Ascension, teaches 
us that in all our actions and in all our ways we ought 
to have recourse to them, and implore their assistance. 



TENTH PKACTICE. 



To Labour for the Conversion op Souls, and for their 
Relief in the Flames of Purqatort, in Honour of the 
Holy Angels. 

What can we do more agreeable to the angels than to 
labour with them for the establishment of the glory of 



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174 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



our common Master t It is with a view to this glory 
that the countless host of pure spirits is occupied witli 
watching over miserable mortal creatures with such, 
attention; it is this which, according to the Apostle, 
detains them all in the service of men. He who knows 
God can consider nothing mean when it is question of 
His Divine interests ; and if it is difficult to comprehend 
the charity, the patience, and the diligence of angels in 
serving such vile creatures as we are, let us cease to 
wonder when we consider that it is the glory of their 
Sovereign which makes them do and bear such amazing 
things. The least degree of God's glory, the very- 
shadow of His interests, is worth the sufferings of the 
whole universe and the annihilation of all creatures. 
O my God ! why art Thou not known t Truly our earth 
is the land of forgetfulness as to all Thou art and 
all that is due to Thee. It is impossible to think of 
this without experiencing a longing desire to leave it 
with all speed, in order to enter the land of light, where 
we shall perceive, although late, that we ought to have 
forgotten all things, or to have thought of them only 
for Thy sake. 

Let us, then, with the holy angels, have regard to the 
interests of God in souls ; and let us use all our endea- 
vours that our Sovereign may be glorified in them. A 
God-Man having given His life amidst an accumulation 
of unspeakable torments for this end, we must either 
renounce our Christianity or give all that in our degree 
we can give to promote His glory in them. Tears of 
bitter grief ought to stream from our eyes at the sight 
of what passes around us. What expense is lavished 
in pampering and adorning a wretched body which 
every day is hastening to corruption, for the gratification 
of ambition and vanity ! What revenues are every year 



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HELPING SOULS IN THEIB HONOUR. 175 

squandered, what immense sums expended, throughout 
this earth on that which is nothing bat earth ! Con- 
sider for a moment what profit the men now living will 
derive from all this expenditure a hundred years hence, 
and take and meditate a while seriously on this truth. 
Then let us be lost in astonishment at beholding the 
small share which the interests of God have in all this 
outlay. Let us be plunged in an abyss of grief at see- 
ing even those goods which are consecrated solely to 
the honour of God, the very revenues of the Church, 
employed — rather let us say squandered away — for 
every other purpose. Be rent asunder, O ye heavens, 
and be astounded at the fearful blindness and hardness 
of the hearts of Christians. In a report concerning 
Greece which was printed and distributed in the chief 
places of Christendom, it was stated that an annual 
revenue of a thousand crowns would suffice to maintain 
all the necessary missions in that country, and I know 
not whether throughout all Christendom the sum could 
be collected. 0 Christians ! it is question of winning 
new empires to Jesus Christ and to His Blessed Mother: 
I repeat it, new empires — alas ! what will not men do 
to conquer a single town ? — by contributing something 
towards the foreign missions in the Indies, in China, in 
Japan, in Canada ; and yet you remain unmoved ! 

Nearly all our country places are made desolate by 
the reign of sin, and ignorance of our holy mysteries ; 
a small sum spent in giving missions would do much 
in the way of remedy; but there are very few who 
trouble themselves about the matter. So it is : money 
is forthcoming in abundance for a handkerchief, for a 
dress, for play, for horses, for furniture, for plate, for 
keeping dogs ; it is only when the interests of my God 
are concerned that no money is to be had, and nothing 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



can be done. O Christians ! do you, in truth, know 
what you are doing 1 And ye holders of benefices, how 
can you live in peace, how can you take a moment's 
rest, beholding your houses filled with such handsome 
furniture, fine pictures, and magnificent plate, and the 
other expenses in which you indulge out of the patri- 
mony of the poor 1 If you were to take twenty sous 
from a poor man, nay, but ten sous, to go and make 
merry with, what would you say ? what would others 
say ? If you were to go and take a crown out of the 
poor-box in the church to spend upon your pleasures, 
or if you were to help yourselves to the same sum out 
of the offertory, would you not feel somewhat uneasy 
in your mind % And yet every year you take from the 
poor and from churches sums of money beyond what 
your necessities require to a fearful amount ; you have, 
besides, much hoarded up ; and you keep all these 
splendid sideboards of plate, these pictures, which have 
been bought with this money ; and perhaps you will 
die in this state, without making restitution, leaving 
these things to your heirs, and thus pillaging the pro- 
perty of churches and of the poor even after your 
death : and all this while you laugh, and pass your days 
without fear. Oh, horror and desolation ! Verily, my 
God, I see the truth of those words of Thine, that few 
indeed are saved. 

The example of the holy angels is a motive of won- 
derful power, not only to do all and to give all to pro- 
mote the glory of God in souls, but also never to grow 
weary in so doing, nor be discouraged by the sufferings 
we have to endure. The Apostle teaches us (2 Tim. iv. 
2), that we must instruct souls " with all patience and 
doctrine." These few words include everything: to 
say all patience and doctrine is to except neither suffer- 



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HELPING SOULS IN THEIR HONOTJB. 177 

ing, nor contempt, nor toil, nor any form of instruction, 
whether in public or in private, whether by preaching 
or by catechising. Alas ! the angels are ever thinking 
of us, though we scarcely ever think of them ; they are 
constantly attending on us, notwithstanding the re- 
pulses and disregard with which we repay them. After 
offending God during the whole course of our lives, 
which is greatly to offend them also, they continue 
nevertheless to do us good, their love always triumph- 
ing over everything. This is why St Ignatius proposed 
them as an example to his children, in order to encour- 
age them when they saw no fruit from their labours. 
And truly all our fervour is like ice, compared with the 
bright flames of pure love with which these spirits are 
animated. Where will you find the director, the 
preacher, who, after giving hundreds of counsels for years 
together, and receiving nothing in return but insults, will 
continue to proffer them with the same amiability 1 and 
yet the angels persevere with an unalterable fidelity 
after forty or sixty years, after thousands of millions of 
inspirations which they have given us. They see 
clearly that numbers of unbelievers and heretics of 
whom they have the charge are on the road to hell, and 
that all their endeavours will prove ineffectual ; but 
this does not prevent their watching lovingly over them 
to the very last breath of life. Again we ask, where 
is the gardener who would continue diligently watering 
a tree if he knew that it would never bear fruit ] But 
the goodness of the angels is beyond all compare. All 
directors, preachers, confessors, missionaries, and all 
such as labour in any way for the good of their neigh- 
bour, ought to have a special devotion to them, that 
they may in some measure participate in their charity 
and indefatigable patience. 

M 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



As the care which these immortal spirits bestow upon, 
us extends beyond time and after death, they may also 
be imitated in this persevering love. We shall give 
them much pleasure by assisting those departed souls 
who are burning in the fires of Purgatory ; and they 
experience a special consolation when they behold us 
disposed to relieve them. Help, then, these poor souls 
by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by mental and vocal 
prayer, by bestowing alms and visiting the poor for 
their intention, by fasts and mortifications, and by the 
indulgences which can be applied to them. If you 
possess a blessed medal, ascertain what indulgences are 
attached to it which are applicable to the dead ; to this 
end, procure the little book which contains a list of 
them, and have frequent recourse to this treasury in 
behalf of those poor souls. As there are many indul- 
gences attached to medals — I speak of such as are com- 
mon, and may be applied to the dead by the person 
who wears them ; as, for instance, by reciting the Pater 
and Ave five times in honour of the Five Wounds of 
our Lord, or the Pater and Ave three times in honour 
of the Most Holy Trinity, before an image of our 
Lord or of our Lady — it will be easy for you to give 
some relief to these much afflicted souls several times 
a day. 

I know persons who never omit this practice when in 
church, who never lie down to sleep without perform- 
ing this act of devotion ; and it is an easy thing to do, 
because all that is required is to wear one of these 
medals, and a picture of our Lord and of His Blessed 
Mother may readily be found in all Hours and Brevi- 
aries, and other pious books, when there happens to be 
none in the room we occupy, which, however, ought 
never to be. I know some persons who pass a consider- 



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179 



able time in repeating these prayers over and over 
again, in order to obtain the more for these souls who 
a re the prisoners of Divine justice ; for let us suppose, 
for instance, that the remission of a hundred days' pen- 
alty, or of ten years' penalty, were attached to each 
repetition of these prayers, we should relieve them of 
many years of suffering if we were to continue to repeat 
them devoutly for half an hour or an hour. I know 
persons who, when they desire to obtain something 
from God, endeavour to move Him to mercy by first 
performing this act of mercy themselves. 

Ah ! if a dog had fallen into the fire you would feel 
compassion for him ; if a house were burning, every 
one would run for water to extinguish the flames; 
neither darkness nor bad weather would keep people 
back ; crowds would hurry eagerly to the spot : whereas 
such is the prodigious blindness of Christians, a thing 
of ordinary occurrence in all spiritual concerns, that 
souls made to the image of Qod are enduring the tor- 
ments of burning — your father, your mother, your hus- 
band, your wife, your dearest friend — and no one gives 
it a thought ! For the first few days that follow death 
people do think of it, because such is the custom, or 
perhaps even for the space of a year ; and after that, 
the persons to whom you manifested so much affection 
are left to burn unaided. Oh, how truly do they then 
estimate the value of your love ! and how great a folly 
it is to rely on the friendship of creatures, and how 
good it is to attach one's self to God only, who is the true 
friend in life, in death, and after death ! There are 
well-authenticated revelations from which we learn that 
there are souls which are condemned to the fires of Pur- 
gatory for hundreds of years, and sometimes, alas ! for 
the indulgence of some vanity — a woman perhaps for 



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180 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



her love of dress : and, knowing all this, you forget 
them so soon and so easily. 

I said in my book on "The Admirable Mother of God," 
how profitable a thing it is to place all our good works 
in her sacred hands, that she may apply them to such 
souls as she pleases : do you at least place at her dis- 
posal the good works of some months or years of your 
life ; perhaps, for what you know, all that is wanting to 
deliver a soul from Purgatory is some one single good 
action. Father de Coret, of the Company of Jesus, in 
his work on " Devotion to the Holy Angel Guardians," 
relates two very striking incidents bearing on this sub- 
ject. He says that a soul suffering in Purgatory learned 
from his good angel that a child just born would one 
day be a priest, and would deliver him from that place 
of suffering by his first offering of the Holy Sacrifice. 
He adds, what I have already related, that in the year 
1634, in the city of Vienna, three other souls appeared 
to a Jesuit, and told him that at his birth their good 
angels had brought them the news in the flames of Pur- 
gatory, assuring them that one day he should be their 
deliverer. St Teresa has written that she had a rev- 
elation that the soul of one of her benefactors was 
to come out of Purgatory on the day that the first 
Mass should be celebrated in one of her houses ; and 
this made her feel very anxious to hasten on the com- 
pletion of that house, knowing that this soul would con- 
tinue to burn until the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass could 
be celebrated within its walls. I leave you to make 
such reflections as these revelations may suggest, if only 
your mind be a little enlightened; they will furnish 
many and most profitable thoughts. 



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"VIRTUOUS PRACTICES IN THEIR HONOUR. 181 

ELEVENTH PEACTICE. 
To Practise some Vibtue, ob abstain from some Vice, in 

HONOUB OF THE HOLT ANGELS. 

If we desire truly to love the angels, we must love what 
they love and hate what they hate. This being so, we 
most have a love for virtue and an aversion for vice. 
They require of us (says a holy Father) sobriety, chas- 
tity, voluntary poverty, frequent aspirations Heaven- 
ward, and, above all, truth and peace. That young 
nobleman, Falcone, was well persuaded of the truth of 
these maxims : he had promised, in honour of his good 
angel, always to speak the truth, and having killed a 
man, he frankly avowed his guilt, to avoid telling a lie, 
although there had been no witness of the deed ; choos- 
ing rather to lose his life than break his promise to his 
good angel. Behold him, then, led forth to death : but 
as the executioner was raising his arm to cut off his 
head, an angel appeared and prevented him ; arresting 
also the arms of three others who came forward to 
strike the fatal blow. This miracle obtained his pardon ; 
and he afterwards changed his name from Falcone to 
that of Angelo, and quitted the world, henceforward to 
converse only with angels. 

Humility, purity, and prayer are the sweet virtues 
which these heavenly spirits look for in those who make 
profession of honouring them. They cannot endure the 
proud, and humility is their prime virtue, which, in- 
deed, they are themselves continually exercising amongst 
us. 

Purity is absolutely necessary in order to be admitted 
to their friendship ; they are the friends of the chaste, 
and specially of virgins ; for the purer men are (says St 



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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



Ambrose) the dearer are they to the angels : hence vir- 
ginity is called an angelic virtue, and they who practise 
it are styled angels upon earth ; and justly so, since it 
is they who bear the closest resemblance to these pure 
spirits. 0 ye virgins, whoever ye be, remember that 
you possess a treasure of inestimable value, and one 
which is to be preferred before crowns and empires : 
if its worth were known, our earth would become a 
heaven, and every one would feel a holy passion for it 
It was the virtue dear to J esus, Mary, and Joseph ; to 
St John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus; to St 
John the Evangelist, His beloved disciple; and the 
great Apostle protests (1 Cor. viL 7) through the light 
that was given him, that he would that all the world 
practised it. It is our Master's great counsel of perfec- 
tion, and its privileges are inexpressible, and shall en- 
dure throughout eternity. No life is too precious to be 
lost for its preservation, no pain but ought to be en- 
dured, no pleasure but ought to be renounced. And 
here I cannot refrain from a passing observation con- 
cerning the wonder I feel at seeing many directors for- 
ward in recommending marriage to persons who have 
an attraction for this virtue, under the pretext of cer- 
tain difficulties which may stand in the way. Truly, 
truly, everything ought to be done to preserve so pre- 
cious a grace. No, never will the Adorable Jesus be 
wanting to such as, in order to please Him the more, 
pass their lives in celibacy. He is the same God who 
has assisted so many virgins, and at so tender an age ; 
who has fortified their courage; who has sustained 
them against all the rage of devils and of men. 0 
men of little faith that we are ! a fly can terrify us, 
the least difficulty damps our courage, while all that is 
needed is but to make one good resolution. God can 



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VIRTUOUS PRACTICES IN THEIR HONOUR. 183 



give none but good counsels ; and we cannot do better 
than generously follow them. 

Prayer is the other virtue which renders us most like 
to the angels : accordingly we have seen them assisting 
in a wonderful manner such persons as have addicted 
themselves to its exercise. St Bernard had one day the 
consolation of seeing them chronicling the prayers of 
his religious, some in letters of gold, others in letters of 
silver, while some they marked with ink, and some with 
water, according to the fervour and tepidity of their in- 
terior dispositions. 

These heavenly spirits are painted barefooted and 
treading on clouds, to signify to us their complete dis- 
engagement from all earthly things. They breathe only 
God alone, and they feel a holy jealousy for the least 
things which concern His Divine interests. St Jerome 
relates, in reference to this, a very terrible story, which 
sufficiently shows how jealous the angels are for the 
interests of their Sovereign. Hymetius, the husband of 
Fretextata, and uncle of the virgin Eustochium, had 
desired his wife to deck out this virgin in gay apparel, 
and make her fair in the eyes of men, hoping by this 
means to divert her from her love of virginity. But no 
sooner had this woman complied with her husband's 
wishes, than the angel of the Lord, full of holy indigna- 
tion, appeared to her, and spoke to her these words, 
which the Father of the Church whom I have quoted 
records : — " You have dared, then, to prefer a husband's 
commands to those of Jesus Christ, and have had the 
presumption to touch the head of a virgin with your 
sacrilegious hands? Those hands shall now become 
withered, that by this punishment you may be made to 
feel what it is you have done ; and in five months' time 
you shall be led into the road to hell ; and if you per- 



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TO THE HOLT AHGELi 



1« 

_s) the dearer are they to the 
r b ofled an angelic virtue, and 
— «a styled angels upon earth; andj 
b they who bear the closest resemblance 
O ye v irg'"*; whoever ye be, A 
assess a m mop of inestimable 
is to be preferred before crowns < l 
if us worth were known, oar earth wi i 
y,,, n and every one would feel a horj i 
It was the virtue dear to Jesus, Mary, I l 
St John die Baptist, the precursor of 
John the Evangelist, His beloved dia 
great Apostle protests (1 Cor. vii 7) th± 
duat was ©ven him, that he would that 
p racnaad it It is our Master s great coa\ 
tjn» ud its privileges are ineapressiMaj 
throoshOTC eternity. Xo fife is too} 
loa aar is praervatuo, a© pain but o4 
at omght to be re4 
I cannot frfr**— from a pa ssing ol^ 
the vooikr I feel at seeing rata} 
uuMU Moag nonage to pea) 
for thss vktae, under the | 
v winch auj stand in thf 
nmfr wntaing omrhs to be done to p 
X*. ***** wOl the AdS 
sa, in anfar to please $ 
n ©sS«y- He » the! 
r vnasas. tad at soi 

^?cL^; ^ i,; 

a! tint case «f devils aal ^ 

<^&nWm> fcuch tia* we are! a iy 4 

t good leswaV^ 





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g0^|t¥. tit** DU 
f Ji wit* h*r huatuuui* 
qgel of the h rci, f«U«>r h .l> luawafc 
her, and spok«* t<> h.r ti»«« *"«^ 
AeChorcb whom i 

^ tO pT#rf«»f * Uil*l»tt*4 * 

of Jeww Chrwt, and Uv« li - 
the head of a v.nmi »ici» 

„ puDiBhment fan urn* ^ 
redone; and in h * 

i t<i u*u i ^ u ^ ' 



. 4 f*\ «y 



184 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS, 

severe in your crime you shall lose at once both your 
husband and your children. " Now this great Doctor of 
the Church affirms that all came to pass as the angel 
had foretold. 

If, then, you wish to be devout to the holy angels, 
you must endeavour to please them; and to please 
them you must persevere in the solid practice of virtue. 
Study particularly, with God's assistance, to acquire 
such virtues as are most dear to them, and most neces- 
sary to yourself ; and at the same time use every possible 
endeavour to extirpate in yourself all that may be dis- 
pleasing to them. Wage, then, a perpetual war against 
sin, and, above all, against impurity. St Basil said that 
this sin drives away the holy angels from us, as smoke 
drives away bees, and a putrid smell, doves. It is 
related of this saint that, being habitually favoured 
with a heavenly vision before celebrating the Holy 
Mysteries, and being one day deprived of it, he learned 
that it was owing to the presence of a deacon, who had 
fallen into impurity ; and, on causing him to withdraw, 
he immediately enjoyed his usual privilege. The angel of 
St Frances, that devout client of these amiable favourites 
of Jesus and Mary, whom she always beheld under a 
visible form, used to hide his eyes whenever the least 
fault or imperfection was committed in his presence. 
Have a care, then, not to do anything which may offend 
eyes which are constantly beholding you ; and, as we 
have all some predominant passion, some inclination 
which cleaves to us more particularly, and which is the 
source of almost all our disorders, set yourself to combat 
this disposition in honour of the holy angels ; make it 
from time to time the subject of your particular exam- 
inations of conscience, and observe whether you are 
correcting yourself of it ; undertake to offer every day 



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VIRTUOUS PRACTICES IN THEIR HONOUR. 185 



to your holy angel some mortification of this taste or 
inclination : it is the most acceptable present you can 
make him ; and remember that it is no legitimate excuse 
to say that this is our weak point ; those who are in 
hell have gone there through that very inclination, which 
they did not subdue, through that weakness, which has 
worked their ruin. It is by their weak point that the 
devil ensnares men, and catches souls ; it is there that 
we ought to be most upon our guard, and have the 
greatest need of angelic protection. 

St Bernard advises us often to call to mind the pre- 
sence of our Guardian Angel, in order to keep us from 
falling into our usual faults. This is a very profitable 
thought, and is a great help to us in overcoming them. 
It is a remarkable thing that even ancient philosophers 
have given this counsel One of these philosophers 
relates that this was Plato's opinion, as I have read in 
the book entitled "The Angel-Guardian" of Father 
Drexelius, where this philosopher is quoted as having 
said that all men j,iave invisible witnesses who are ever 
present with them, and who observe, not their actions 
only, but also their thoughts ; and that, after the death 
of each, the witness who has watched over him conducts 
him to receive the judgment which is passed upon his 
life, according to the testimony he renders of it : where- 
fore, continues this author, all ye who, in listening to 
me, hear the divine sentiment of Plato, so dispose all 
your actions and all your thoughts as men who must 
know that they have nothing hidden from these wit- 
nesses or guardians, whether internally or externally. 
He then goes on to speak of the protection which this 
witness renders, who, he declares ought to be religiously 
honoured and recognised, as he was by Socrates, by the 
innocence and justice of his life. Would you not say 



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186 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



that it was a Christian who was here speaking ? and 
would any one believe that these were the thoughts and. 
sentiments of a Pagan ? 



TWELFTH PRACTICE. 

To Pbomote in all kinds op Wats Devotion to the Nine 
Choirs of Holy Angels. 

If the holy angels do all that can be done for the 
service of men, men on their part are bound not to 
spare themselves, but to make use of all possible means, 
within the order of God, for the augmentation of their 
glory ; and since not only the angels of the lowest choir, 
but the angels of all the hierarchies, lovingly watch over 
us, our gratitude to them ought to be as comprehensive 
as our duties towards them ; and since God only is the 
one great and urgent motive which ought to prompt our 
actions, and since this motive reigns supreme in all the 
choirs of angels, but in a more special manner in the 
highest, who have most loved our most amiable God, 
and have been most loved by Him, this alone ought to 
be sufficient to make us have a singular devotion to 
them all, and endeavour to promote that devotion in 
others in every possible way. A good heart will enter 
readily into these sentiments : we have only to love to 
be persuaded of their justice, and to make firm resolu- 
tions to labour with all our power to promote the glory 
of the angels. 

If you should still ask me what you ought to do, I 
reply that I have said everything in saying that you 
ought to omit nothing, but do everything, and labour 



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PROMOTING THBIE HONOUR AMONG MEN. 



187 



with all your might, within the order of God, to promote 
devotion to the holy angels. Reflect on these few words, 
and you will perceive that they furnish you with ample 
matter; and that if you understand them well and practise 
them, we may then believe that your love for the angels 
is truly sincere : the great thing is to have a real love 
for these amiable beings ; for if it be real, I need only 
quote to you that beautiful saying of St Augustine, 
" Love, and then do what you please." Love is full of 
devices and fertile in inventions ; it will suggest to you 
abundance of ways whereby to increase the honour paid 
to these princes of Heaven, for such is the nature of 
cordial and genuine love. 

However, to tell you simply my own notions, it ap- 
pears to me that one of the means which may serve to 
make them more honoured, is to distribute pictures of 
these glorious spirits, particularly to the poor people in 
country places, and, indeed, also to the poor in towns, 
among whom there is greater ignorance than is generally 
supposed ; experience proving that numbers of persons 
even in the largest cities have but little knowledge of 
the mysteries of our holy religion. We may suggest to 
the rich and to our personal friends the keeping of such 
pictures in their rooms; the sight of them carries on the 
mind to the objects represented, and often sensibly 
touches the heart. St Chrysostom, on seeing a picture 
of the holy angel who discomfited the army of Sen- 
nacherib, was melted by it even to tears. If we have the 
means of presenting pictures to be placed in churches, 
or in some chapel, or over some altar, it is an excel- 
lent way of exciting devotion to them among the 
people. Constantine the Great caused four images 
of the holy angels to be made ; they were of an ex- 
traordinary size, and all resplendent with the brilliancy 



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188 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 

of the precious stones with which they were richly 
adorned. 

Another excellent means, and one of the best, as it 
appears to me, is to make a large distribution of well- 
selected books composed on the subject, or take occasion 
to invite persons to purchase some. I know of nothing 
better calculated to promote their honour. This means 
includes almost all the others, since it both gives them 
honour and teaches it. Amongst many books of this 
kind, the " Clock of the Guardian Angel," by Father 
Drexelius ; " Devotion to the Angels," by Father de 
Bary ; " Devotion to the Angels," by Father Nouet ; 
" Devotion to the Holy Angel-Guardians," by Father de 
Coret, all four Keligious of the Company of Jesus, 
recommend love and devotion to these blessed spirits 
with so much sweetness and persuasiveness, that I think 
it would be difficult to read them without being sensibly 
affected, and without conceiving a lively desire to 
honour them greatly for the remainder of one's life. 

Such as are rich will contribute much to the glory of 
the angels by employing their wealth in erecting a church 
or chapel or an altar in honour of them, and so much 
the more as by this means they will work for the glory 
of the holy angels, not only during their lifetime, but as 
long as these buildings shall last ; which will be the 
means of drawing all manner of persons to honour 
them, many of whom would otherwise never have 
thought of it. Such was the devotion of the Emperor 
Constantine, who raised two magnificent temples in 
honour of St Michael. The Emperor Justinian erected 
six in honour of that archangel and the other angels. 
St Helena had another built in honour of these Intelli- 
gences, on the spot where the angel is believed to have 
appeared to the shepherds. Persons whose means are 



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PROMOTING THEIR HONOUR AMONG MEN. 



189 



not equal to such an outlay, can at least present orna- 
ments for their chapels, have lights burned in them, and 
give pictures to them. I have noticed in another place 
that the Sovereign Pontiff Julius III. dedicated a church 
in honour of the seven highest princes who stand before 
the throne of God. 

Zealous preachers will do much towards establishing 
devotion to the angels, if they will instruct the people 
in it, and from time to time powerfully exhort them to 
it. I know some who would be very sorry to leave any 
place where they had been preaching without a sermon 
on the subject of these glorious spirits ; and the effects 
which result from this show that it is one of the most 
profitable means that can be employed. It rests with 
those priests whom God calls to preach in different 
towns and provinces to make good use of this means ; 
and I have no doubt but that if such were the practice, 
we should in a short time have the consolation of seeing 
devotion to the holy angels established everywhere. 
What is to hinder a preacher, when giving his Advent 
or Lent sermons, from allotting a day or two to discourses 
in their honour? Missionaries in the course of their 
missions might easily do the same, with the addition of 
a few catechetical instructions to make souls acquainted 
with the angelic perfections and goodness. Seculars 
may found such sermons and catechisms in churches, 
endowing them with revenue for that purpose. The 
master of a family in his house, a father among his 
children, a person living in the country among the peas- 
ants, or when visiting the poor or bestowing alms upon 
them, may promote this devotion by teaching what 
ought to be believed concerning the angels, and telling 
them of the assistance men receive from them ; recom- 
mending practices with which they can be honoured, 



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190 DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



and making those over whom they have authority per- 
form them ; relating at the same time some examples 
calculated to dispose and attract persons to this devotion. 
We may do the same with those in whose company we 
are travelling, taking occasion from the multitude of 
angels in the different places through which we pass, 
even saluting them publicly and in the presence of others, 
so as to furnish an opportunity of conversing about 
them. 

Archdeacons, and other visitors of parochial churches, 
call exhort the priests of these churches to give every 
year exhortations or catechetical instructions on this 
devotion. This also is one of the best means that can 
be adopted for spreading it everywhere. The visitors 
of regulars can also contribute much towards it in the 
monasteries and convents under their jurisdiction ; all 
superiors in the houses dependent on them; but, above 
all, prelates in their dioceses, by establishing associations 
in honour of these exalted spirits in various places, 
taking occasion from time to time to recommend pastors 
and preachers during Advent and Lent to make the 
people acquainted with these confraternities, and thus 
showing the interest they take in the matter, and prov- 
ing how agreeable it would be to them that this de- 
votion should be encouraged. 

In fine, zealous persons may meet and confer together 
about the means of establishing and augmenting this 
devotion ; they can speak to the prelates to whom they 
can gain access, to priests and superiors ; they can write 
letters to different parts of the country where they have 
connexions, and cultivate holy acquaintances there for 
this end, send books, and procure the foundation of 
some pious association. 



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AN ASSOCIATION IN THEIE HONOUE. 191 



Conclusion op this Little Work, by the Plan of an Asso- 
ciation in Honour of the Nine Choirs of Angels. 

There are many confraternities or associations, insti- 
tuted for various purposes — though God Himself is 
always the first and primary object, as is absolutely 
necessary. Some have for their end deliverance from 
some temporal evil : thus we see confraternities in 
honour of St Sebastian for preservation from plague, 
and others in honour of St Firmin for relief from the 
gout Others again regard only spiritual interests ; as, 
for example, to obtain the grace of a good death and to 
be saved from hell. Now that of which I am here 
speaking would have but one and a very simple end in 
everything, the sole interest of God only, in an entire 
forgetfulness of all that is not God; and as His 
interests are concerned in the establishment of the 
empire of Jesus and Mary throughout the earth, it 
would have for its end the happy reign of this Adorable 
King and this great Queen of angels and of men. 
There are such multitudes in all the earth who are 
occupied with their own interests and with the interests 
of their fellow-creatures ; it is self-interest which gives 
the impulse to everything and sets everything in mo- 
tion, which causes division between nearest relatives, 
and is the source of all disputes and all law-suits, of 
sadness, and weariness, and disquietude, of wars between 
States, of eagerness in all transactions, of disturbance 
in all consciences, in fine, of all the miseries we see in 
this wretched life. If some are to be met with who 
are disengaged from temporal interests, you will detect 
imperfection in their attachment to their spiritual 
interests ; in short, it is very rare to meet with souls 



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192 



DEVOTION TO THE HOLY ANGELS. 



who no longer desire anything but God only. It 
would be the object of this devotion to provide a 
remedy for this, by looking only to the pure interests 
of God. Alas ! the streets of towns are full of a crowd 
of people, their palaces are thronged with multitudes 
passing in and out, hurrying to and fro, and disquieting 
themselves in the pursuit of their own interests. People 
post about, undertake long and arduous journeys, cross 
the seas, expose themselves to death a thousand times, 
run to the very extremities of the earth, abandon rela- 
tives, children, friends, and all that is sweetest in life 
to forward these interests; armies are levied, soldiers 
mustered, life* sacrificed in their defence. People 
engage themselves in states of life for which they have 
no vocation, thus risking their eternal salvation for the 
sake of upholding their honour, enjoying the revenues 
of benefices, obtaining some office; and they compro- 
mise the salvation of their children in like manner. It 
is the great God of Eternity whose interests are alone 
neglected. Alas! what do men do for this sacred 
cause ? Now the object of this association is to bind 
souls together for so noble an end, and to form holy 
troops for the great King Jesus and His amiable Mother, 
whom He has associated with His glory and called to 
share His crowns. 

The association would be in honour of all the nine 
choirs of angels, to beg them to join with us, and make 
a holy union of heaven and earth, in order to obtain the 
advent of the kingdom of God. As these spirits are 
perfectly disinterested, and have never had the slightest 
movement of self-interest, having always been lost in 
an abyss of pure love, the love of God only, fighting 
from the very beginning of the world for the interests 
of God, and in the cause of the Incarnate Word, we 



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AN ASSOCIATION IN THEIR HONOUR. 



193 



cannot choose better protectors or more powerful inter- 
cessors to hasten the blessed reign of the pure love of 
Jesus and Mary. We honour them all, we invoke 
them all, that we may call all Heaven to our aid, and 
make our union stronger against the rage of hell and 
the malice of men, who labour unceasingly to destroy 
the empire of God by the empire of sin. 

The associates on the day of their admission, or some 
days previous, will make a general confession of their 
whole life, if they have never made one before, taking 
care, in case they have already made one, not to repeat 
it through scrupulosity ; they will therefore do nothing 
in this matter but by the advice of their director. 
These confessions are very necessary in country districts, 
many of the poor people being ashamed of confessing 
their sins to priests whom they are constantly seeing. 
This is why it is well that their pastors should volun- 
teer to suggest their availing themselves of some good 
extraordinary confessor, having regard, not only to 
his capacity and kindness, but to their own willing- 
ness and readiness to open their hearts to him, giving 
them to understand that they would themselves be 
glad to see them profit by this opportunity, and, far 
from looking coldly on their doing so, or testifying any 
repugnance, inviting them to it gently and repeatedly. 
Besides the shame which persons experience at con- 
fessing mortal sins, the want of compunction and of 
the purpose of amendment makes a good general con- 
fession, with a review of their whole life, a matter of 
necessity. 

The members will go to communion on the day of 
admission, and annually on the feast of St Michael, as 
well as on the first day or the first Sunday in March ; 
and they should be exhorted to do so also every month, 

N 



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194 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGELS. 



on the Sunday selected for specially honouring the holy- 
angels. 

Every day they will recite nine times the Gloria 
Patri, or the Angelical Salutation, in honour of the 
nine choirs of holy angels, and from time to time 
remember to repeat these words, as an ejaculatory 
prayer : " Pater, adveniat regnum Tuum — Father, Thy 
kingdom come;" but these words they ought to utter 
far more with the heart than with the lips, conceiving 
ardent desires for the reign of Jesus and Mary. 

The most convenient Sunday in the month might be 
chosen, and the one least taken up with the devotions 
of other confraternities, as, for instance, the third ; and 
on that day, after the manner of the other pious confra- 
ternities, a Mass might be celebrated in honour of the 
angels, if that can conveniently be done, and if there 
be several priests in the parish, as the Sunday office 
must not be interfered with. If there be but one priest, 
who is obliged to say the parish Mass, there might be a 
procession after Vespers, hymns and responses being 
sung in honour of these glorious spirits, and the image 
of a holy angel, designed for the purpose, might be 
borne on the occasion ; if possible, there should also be 
a sermon, or some short discourse or instruction on the 
subject of this devotion. 

Every year a day might be specially set apart as the 
great feast of the association, for instance, St Michael's 
day, at the end of September; or, seeing that the 
dwellers in towns are often in the country at that time, 
and the country people are still occupied with finishing 
their harvest or vintage, the first Sunday in March 
might be taken, which would make it easy to procure a 
preacher, as being the season of Lent ; or the first Sun- 
day after the eighth of May, when the feast of the 



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195 



Apparition of St Michael is kept, and on this day the 
Ordinary's permission might be asked for having the 
Blessed Sacrament exposed ; It might be carried in 
procession, and solemn Mass said ; a sermon might be 
preached ; and all the associates should not fail to com- 
municate on that day and to celebrate it with all pos- 
sible devotion. On the vigil, if the members are not 
disposed to fast, unless it be within the season of Lent, 
they might at least observe some abstinence ; and, as 
a preparation for the feast, they might visit some poor 
person, or bestow some alms, if their means allowed. 
They might also visit some chapel, or altar, dedicated 
to God under the invocation of these princes of Heaven. 

Every Tuesday should be a day of peculiar devotion, 
specially consecrated to these blessed spirits. The 
members should hear Mass on that day in their honour, 
where they have the facility of so doing, and should re- 
member to make a more than usually attentive medita- 
tion upon them. The feast of our Lady of Angels, 
which is celebrated on the second of August, ought to 
be held in especial veneration, as the day on which the 
Ever-Blessed Virgin is honoured in the character of 
their Sovereign and beloved Lady and Mistress. 

There should be a register or book in which to in- 
scribe the names of all the associates of both sexes, who 
should be received by the superior of the association, or 
by some one deputed on his part, no money being taken 
on admission, that the poorest may have every facility 
for joining the Confraternity, each person being free to 
give, according to his or her devotion, towards decorat- 
ing the altar and providing lights and other requisites. 
I have no doubt but that in large towns sufficient 
money would always be contributed for having Masses 
said and meeting other necessary expenses; but as 



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196 DEVOTION TO THE HOLT ANGBLS, 



there might be more difficulty in villages, endeavours 
ought to be made to obtain some endowment, which, 
indeed, would also be desirable in towns; and some 
small trifle might be received, say two sous yearly, from 
each member, care, however, being taken to ask nothing 
of the poor ; and to this end there should be a treas- 
urer, who would receive what was contributed, and give 
in his or her account each year, on a day fixed by the 
Confraternity. 

Every three months, or, at least, twice a year, the 
superior with the principal members of the association 
should assemble to deliberate upon the means of estab- 
lishing and augmenting devotion to the holy angels ; 
and for this purpose the preceding chapter might be 
read, which suggests different methods, and each might 
propose with simplicity his own lights on the subject. 

All the members ought to recollect that the end of 
the association being the reign of Jesus and Mary, 
which can be established only through the knowledge 
and love of God, they are under a special obligation to 
have their children and servants instructed in the mys- 
teries of the faith, and themselves to learn its most 
necessary truths, of which they are too often ignorant. 
They should not fail to teach them to the poor whom 
they assist, or to whom they give alms ; to use all the 
influence in their power with bishops and pastors to 
have the catechism carefully taught ; to procure also, 
according to their ability, the sending of missions into 
country places ; and, above all, to contribute all they 
can towards foreign missions, which are the means 
of establishing the kingdom of Jesus Christ in those 
pagan countries which are subject to the tyranny of 
the deviL 

They ought also to bestow great care on the Blessed 



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AN ASSOCIATION IN THEIR HONOUR. 197 

Sacrament of the Altar, and all that is connected with 
It : as ciboriums, chalices, tabernacles, decorations, 
corporals, altars ; and they should endeavour to accom- 
pany It when carried to the sick, preserving also great 
modesty of demeanour in the churches, having a horror 
of the least irreverences committed there, never talking 
in them, and labouring to put a stop to the immodest 
behaviour of others. They should be exhorted to fre- 
quent the sacraments with the proper dispositions, to 
practise mental prayer, to read spiritual books, to ex- 
amine their conscience regularly, to offer their prayers 
to God together with their families every evening, to 
assist the poor, and to give themselves to the solid 
practice of all other virtues. 

They must fly with horror both sin and all the occa- 
sions of sin, above all, impurity, which is the sin most 
opposed to the purity of the angels. They must avoid 
everything which leads to it ; as too great intimacy be- 
tween persons of different sexes, words with a double 
meaning, unbecoming familiarities, songs or books in any 
degree calculated to shock chaste ears, and labour for the 
destruction of this accursed sin, the great enemy of the 
reign of Jesus Christ, not only in their own persons, 
but in all to whom they may have access. They should 
strive to gain to our Lord such souls as are unhappily 
entangled in this vice, and with a sweet and cordial 
charity provide them with the necessary means of liv- 
ing, in order to draw them from it, taking care not to 
give occasion to their continuing in sin, either by fail- 
ing to render them assistance, or by any contemptuous 
repulse and a certain hardness of heart, for which many 
shall have to render strict account at the dread tribunal 
of God. All enmities, disputes, slanders ought to be 
banished from the hearts of those who profess to love 



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DEVOTION TO THB HOLT ANGELS. 



the angels; nay, they ought to love those who hate 
them, and do good to those who injure them. 

Finally, in large towns, nine days might be appropri- 
ated to honouring the nine choirs of angels with great 
solemnity. During that period the Blessed Sacrament 
might be exposed, with the exception of the times when 
people are assembled to hear the sermon (and this is a 
point worthy of much attention, for a thousand irrever- 
ences are committed on such occasions) : if possible, 
there should be a sermon every day, and the office of 
the angels should be said upon days when nothing else 
interferes ; each day there should be High Mass, and 
Benediction in the evening, and nothing should be 
omitted which is customary on the greatest festivals, 
or which devout piety can suggest For this purpose, 
some time ought to be chosen as free as may be from 
other feasts, that there may be more opportunity for 
saying the office of the angels. It would seem that 
Quasimodo (Low) Sunday might be very suitable for 
commencing this solemnity, as it often occurs in the 
month of April, which is not much occupied with 
feasts ; besides which, it is at that time that the towns 
are fullest, so that a greater concourse of persons might 
be expected. 



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A PKAYEK TO THE NINE CHOIKS OF 
HOLY ANGELS. 

Blessed spirits of the heavenly court, invincible cham- 
pions of the cause of God, after having adored, praised, 
blessed, and given thanks to the God of all goodness, 
for the incomparable graces with which He has enriched 
you; after having made a sincere protestation with 
our whole heart, that we take all possible interest 
therein, rejoicing because of the joy and ineffable glory 
which you possess ; after having besought you benig- 
nantly to accept the inviolable resolution we now take 
to have a special devotion to you for the remainder of 
our days, and to promote its establishment and increase 
by every means in our power wherever we can, we im- 
plore the aid of all your glorious bands, for the advance- 
ment of the reign of the Adorable Jesus and the 
amiable Mary over all heathens, heretics, schismatics, 
over all persons who live in true submission to the Holy, 
Catholic, Apostolic, and Eoman Church, and particu- 
larly over the Sovereign Pontiff, who is its one visible 
head on earth, and over all other prelates ; so that, all 
people professing the same faith, cleaving to the purity 
of its maxims, and leading a life conformable to its 
rules, the sacred interests of God Only may live and 
reign in all hearts throughout all ages. This is the 
grace for which we ask, 0 mighty princes of the hea- 
venly host, from the Father of Mercies, through your 
powerful intercession ; this is the consolation which we 
beseech the God of all consolation to grant us ; that 
His Name may be sanctified, His Kingdom come, His 



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A PRAYER TO THE NINE CHOIRS. 



Will be done on earth as it is in heaven ; that the 
empire of sin and of the devils may be destroyed ; that 
the Gospel may be preached to all nations, and received 
throughout all the earth ; that the Holy Name of God 
may be honoured and glorified ; that all spirits may 
bless the Lord, adore Him, love Him, and live in per- 
fect and entire submission to His Divine Will. Come, 
then, O ye Angels and Archangels, hasten to establish 
the dominion of God in kingdoms and provinces, in 
towns and country-places, and in all who dwell therein ; 
ye sacred Principalities, rule all hearts, possess them, 
that you may subject them to the empire of Jesus and 
Mary ; ye admirable Powers, confound the devils, who 
oppose themselves thereto, defeat the designs of hell, 
and the malice of all sorcerers and magicians, and other 
enemies of God ; ye divine Virtues, lead souls to walk 
in the solid paths of Divine love ; ye glorious Domina- 
tions, make known to men, to this end, the will of God 
concerning them ; ye amiable Thrones, establish in their 
inmost hearts that peace which our Lord bequeathed 
to us ; ye Cherubim, princes of heavenly science, com- 
municate its excellent light to our earth ; and ye Sera- 
phim, princes of pure love, cause men to live only by 
its flames, that God Only may be the true Sovereign 
and the absolute Master of all we are, and all we do. 
Amen. Amen. Amen. God Only, God Only, God 
Only. 



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POSTSCRIPT. 

God, who commanded the light to shine out of dark- 
ness, and who calls things that are not as things that 
are, having been pleased to extract His own glory from 
my abjection and nothingness, has poured so abundant 
a benediction upon the little work of Devotion to the 
Nine Choirs of Holy Angels, which His Divine Provi- 
dence, ever my good and most faithful mother, has 
made me present to the public, that it has been trans- 
lated into foreign languages, and an ex-provincial of the 
Religious of the Company of Jesus in Poland, who had 
already translated it into Polish, has even bound him- 
self by vow to translate it also into Latin. Thus, it is, 
according to what the Apostle says to the Corinthians 
(1 Cor. i. 27-29), that God chooses those who seem 
to be fools in the world to confound the wise, and the 
weak to confound the strong, and that He makes use 
of such as are vile and contemptible, yea, and of nothing- 
ness itself, that no man may glory in His sight. 



Having spoken of the profanations which take place 
with respect to the Sacred Body of our Lord, we think 
we ought to suggest that one great means of preventing 
many which occur from particles becoming detached 
and so falling to the ground, when communion is being 
given to the people, would be to fasten the lid to the 
ciborium, and hold it under the mouth of those who 
communicate, that it may receive any such particles : 
this is why the deacon carries the paten at High Mass, 
and places it under the mouth of the communicants. 



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LITANY OF THE HOLY ANGELS. 



Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Christ, hear us. 

Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of heaven, fctj 

God the Son, Redeemer of | 
the world, " 

God the Holy Ghost, ? 

Holy Trinity, one God, 

Holy Mary, Queen of An- 
gels, 

Holy Mother of God, 

Holy Virgin of virgins, 

St Michael, who wast ever 
the defender of the people 
of God, # 

St Michael, who didst drive 
from heaven Lucifer and 
his rebel crew, *t> 

St Michael, who didst cast J 
down to hell the accuser 
of our brethren, § 

St Gabriel, who didst ex- § 
pound to Daniel the hea- * 
venly vision, 

St Gabriel, who didst fore- 
tell to Zachary the birth 
and ministry of John the 
Baptist, 

St Gabriel, who didst an- 
nounce to Mary the In- 
carnation of the Divine 
Word, 

St Raphael, who didst lead 
Tobias safe through his 
journey to his home 
again, 

St Raphael, who didst de- 
liver Sara from the devil, 



St Raphael, who didst re- 
store his sight to Tobias 
the elder, 

All ye holy Angels, who 
stand upon the high and 
lofty throne of God, 

Who cry to Him continually, 
Holv, holy, holy, 

Who dispel the darkness of 
our minds, and give us 
light, 

Who are the messengers of 
heavenly things to men, 

Who have been appointed 
by God to be our guar- 
dians, 

Who always behold the face 
of our Father who is in 
heaven, 

Who rejoice over one sinner 
doing penance, § 

Who struck the Sodomites g 
with blindness, 

Who led Loth out of the 
midst of the ungodly, 

Who ascended and de- 
scended on the ladder of 
Jacob, 

Who delivered the divine 
law to Moses on mount 
Sinai, 

Who brought good tidings 
when Christ was born, 

Who ministered to Him in 
the desert, 

Who comforted Him in His 
agony, 

Who sat in white garments 
at His sepulchre, 

Who appeared to the dis- 
ciples as He went up into 
heaven, 

Who shall go before Him 



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LITANY OF THE HOLY ANOELS. 203 



bearing the standard of 
the Cross, when He com- 
eth to judgment, 

Who shall gather together 
the elect at the end of 
the world, 

Who shall separate the 
wicked from among the 
just, 

Who offer to God the pray- 
ers of them that pray, 

Who assist us at the hour 
of death, 

Who carried Lazarus into 
Abraham's bosom, 

Who conduct to heaven the 
bouIs of the just, cleansed 
from every stain, 

Who perform signs and 
wonders by the power of ^ 
God, 2 

Who are sent to minister «^ 
for those who shall re- § 
ceive the inheritance of g 
salvation, 

Who would cure Babylon, 
and when she will not be 
cured, depart and for- 
sake her, 

Who are set over kingdoms 
and provinces, 

Who have often put to 
flight armies of enemies, 

Who have often delivered 
God's servants from pri- 
son, and other perils of 
this life, 

Who have often consoled 
the holy martyrs in their 
torments, 

Who are wont to cherish 
with peculiar care the 
prelates and princes of 
the Church, and all that 
are under their charge, 

All ye holy orders of blessed 
Spirits, 

Prom all dangers, 



Deliver us, 0 Lard, by Thy 

holy Angels. 
From the snares of the 

devil, 

From all heresy and schism, 
From plague, famine, and 
war, 

From sudden and unlooked- 
for death, 

From everlasting death, 

We sinners, 

Beseech Thee, hear us. 

Through Thy holy Angels, 

That Thou wouldst spare us, 

That Thou wouldst pardon us, 

That Thou wouldst vouch- 
safe to govern and pre- 
serve Thy holy Church, 

That Thou wouldst vouch- 3) 
safe to protect our Apos- ^ 
tolic Prelate, and all g 
ecclesiastical orders, § 

That Thou wouldst vouch- 
safe to grant peace and j3 
security to kings and all 
Christian princes, 

That Thou wouldst vouch- 8 
safe to give and preserve » 
the fruits of the earth, • 

That Thou wouldst vouch- 
safe to grant eternal rest 
to all the faithful de- 
parted, 

Lamb of God, who takest away 

the sins of the world, 
Spare us, 0 Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away 

the sins of the world, 
Oraciously hear us, 0 Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away 

the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy. 

Our Father, &c (secretly). 

f. Bless the Lord, all ye His 
Angels. 



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204 



A PRAYER TO ALL ANGELS. 



ty. Te that are mighty in 
strength, that fulfil His com- 
mandments, hearkening unto 
the voice of His words. 

f. Bless the Lord, all ye 
His hosts. 

K/. Ye ministers of His, that 
do His will. 

f. He hath given His Angels 
charge concerning thee. 

fy. To keep thee in all thy 
ways. 

f. The Angel of the Lord 
shall encamp round about them 
that fear Him. 

. And shall deliver them. 
In the sight of the An- 



gels will I sing unto Thee, O 
my God. 

Ityr. I will worship toward 
Thy holy temple, and will give 
praise unto Thy Name, 0 Lord. 

*f. O Lord, hear my prayer. 

Of. And let my cry come 
unto Thee. 

Let us pray. 

O God, who dispensest the 
services of angels and men in 
a wonderful order, mercifully 
grant that our life may be pro- 
tected on earth by those who 
always do Thee service in hea- 
ven. Through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 



A PRAYER TO ALL ANGELS. 

Ye Angels, so holy and so pure, spirits truly blessed, 
who stand before your Lord, and contemplate with 
such exceeding joy the Divine Countenance of that 
Heavenly Solomon, who hath enlightened you with a 
wisdom so excellent, who hath ennobled you with so 
many prerogatives, and hath made you worthy of so 
eminent a glory — you, I say, who are those brilliant 
stars which shine with so much lustre in the empyreal 
Heaven, pour into my soul, I beseech you, your blessed 
influences, preserve my faith in its purity, my hope in 
its firmness, my virtue in its integrity, and make me to 
advance ever in the love of God and of my neighbour. 
I beseech you also, O ye blessed Angels, that you will 
be pleased by your heavenly guidance, to lead me along 
the path of humility, of which you gave us the example 
in your own blessed beginnings, that after this life I 
^q^ay merit with you to contemplate the sovereign beauty 

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LITANY OF OUR HOLY ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 



205 



of the Heavenly Father, and to occupy the place of some , 
one of those stars which through their pride have fallen 
from Heaven. 



LITANY OF OUR HOLY ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 



Lord, have mercy. 

Lardy have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 

Christ t have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Christ, hear us. 

Christy graciously hear us. 

God the Father of heaven, ^ 

God the Son, Redeemer of E? 
the world, 

God the Holy Ghost, ft* 

Holy Trinity, one God, 

Holy Mary, Queen of An- 
gels, 

Holy Angel, my guardian, 
Holy Angel, my prince, 
Holy Angel, my monitor, 
Holy Angel, my counsellor, 
Holy Angel, my defender, 
Holy Angel, my steward, 
Holy Angel, my friend, 
Holy Angel, my negotiator, 
Holy Angel, my intercessor, 
Holy Angel, my patron, !j* 
Holy Angel, my director, Ǥ 
Holy Angel, my ruler, ^ 
Holy Angel, my protector, 3 
Holy Angel, my comforter, £ 
Holy Angel, my brother, 
Holy Angel, my teacher, 
Holy Angel, my shepherd, 
Holy Angel, my witness, 
Holy Angel, my helper, 
Holy Angel, my watcher, 
Holy Angel, my conductor, 
Holy Angel, my preserver, 



Holy Angel, my instructor, |J 
Holy Angel, my enlight- ,g 
ener, 

Lamb of God, who takest 

away the sins of the world, 
Spare us, 0 Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away 

the sins of the world, 
Graciously hear us, 0 Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away 

the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us. 
Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us. 

jt. Pray for us, 0 holy Angel- 
Guardian, 

fy. That we may be made 
worthy of the promises of 
Christ 

Let us pray. 
Almighty, everlasting God, 
who, in the counsel of Thy in- 
effable goodness, hast appointed 
to all the faithful, from their 
mother's womb, a special An- 
gel-Guardian of their body and 
soul ; grant that I may so love 
and honour him whom Thou 
hast so mercifully given me, 
that, protected by the bounty 
of Thy grace, and by his assist- 
ance, I may merit to behold, 
with him and all the angelic 
host, the glory of Thy counte- 
nance in the heavenly country. 
Who livest and reignest, world 
without end. Amen. 



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A PRAYER TO OUR ANGEL-GUARDIAN. 

O most faithful companion, whom God hast appointed 
to watch over me, my guide and protector, ever at my 
side, what thanks can I offer thee for thy love, thy con- 
stancy, and thy innumerable benefits ? Thou watchest 
over me in sleep, thou consolest me in sorrow, thou 
raisest me when I fall, thou wardest off dangers, thou 
preparest me for the future, thou withdrawest me from 
sin, thou urgest me to good, thou movest me to do 
penance, and reconcilest me with my God. Already, 
perhaps, I should have been thrust into hell, unless 
thou by thy prayers hadst averted from me the dreadful 
wrath of God. Desert me not, then, I beseech thee ; 
encourage me in adversity, restrain me in prosperity, 
protect me in dangers, and assist me in temptations, 
lest at any time I yield to them. Offer to the Divine 
Majesty all my prayers and sighs and works, and obtain 
for me the grace to die in the friendship of God, and 
so to enter into life eternal. Amen. 



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TRANSLATOR'S NOTES. 



Note A. Page 28. 



This remarkable story figures as an " example " in several pious 
books ; we find it, for instance, in F. Nieremberg's u Treatise 
on the Temporal and Eternal," where it is related as follows : — 
" Johannes Major, or John of Tours, reports (Ex. 14) that a 
certain monk being at matins, with the other religious of his 
monastery, and coming to that verse of Psalm lxxix., where it 
is said, A thousand years in the pretence of God are but at yester- 
day, which is already past, began to imagine with himself how 
it might be possible ; and remaining in choir (as his manner 
was) after the end of matins, to finish his devotions, he humbly 
besought the Lord to grant him the true understanding of that 
place ; which he had no sooner done but he perceived a little 
bird in the choir, that, with flying up and down before him, by 
little and little, with her melodious singing, insensibly drew 
him out of the church into a wood not far off, where, perching 
herself upon a bough, she for some short time, as it seemed to 
him, continued her music, to the unspeakable delight of the 
monk, and then flew away, leaving him by her absence no less 
sad and pensive. But, seeing she came no more, he returned 
back, thinking he had left his monastery the same morning, 
immediately after matins, and that it was now about the third 
hour ; but, coming to the convent, which was near the wood, 
he found the gate by which he was accustomed to enter to be 
closed up, and another opened in some other part, where, calling 
upon the porter, he was asked who he was, from whence he 
came, and what was his business. He answered that he was 
the sacristan of the church, and that, having that morning gone 




208 



NOTES. 



abroad after matins, he found all things at his return changed. 
The porter demanded of him the name of the abbot, the prior, 
the procurator. He named them all, and wondered he was 
neither understood nor permitted to enter, and when they 
feigned not to know those religious whom he mentioned, desired 
to be brought to the abbot; but coming into his presence, 
neither the abbot knew him, nor he the abbot, whereat the 
good monk, being much astonished, knew not what to say. The 
abbot asked him his- name, and that of his abbot ; and, turning 
over the annals of the monastery, found it was more than three 
hundred years since the death of those persons whom he named. 
Whereupon the monk, making a relation of what had happened 
to him concerning the psalm, they acknowledged him, and ad- 
mitted him as a brother into their profession, where, having 
received the sacraments of the Church, he with much peace 
ended his days in our Lord." — B. iv. c. 1. 

The legend is related at greater length in the " Prato Fiorito " 
of F. Valerio (a Capuchin), who cites it from a book which he 
calls "Speculum Exemplorum," by one Henrico. The translator 
has been unable to trace the story to its origin ; neither has he 
succeeded in finding the passage in Cornelius a Lapide to which 
Boudon refers. Such stories are of frequent occurrence in 
books of piety, and are usually intended merely as illustrations 
of some practical lesson or spiritual truth, just as many popular 
anecdotes are introduced into works of secular or moral instruc- 
tion, without the retailer of them intending thereby to repre- 
sent them as possessed of any historical value, much less to 
vouch for their circumstantial accuracy. But in this instance 
Cornelius a Lapide is said to have examined carefully into the 
evidence for the legend, and to have convinced himself that it 
was of a substantial character. If this be so, and the story be 
really authentic, we may find some sort of analogy for it in the 
ancient and generally received tradition of the Church, that 
Enoch and Elias are miraculously reserved by Qod to re-appear 
in the last times as the " Two Witnesses " of whom St John 
prophesies (Apoc. xi. 3). And, if so reserved, what more pro- 
bable than that their supernaturally prolonged life is one per- 
petual ecstasy ? The reader may not be sorry to be reminded 
of a beautiful legend which the Countess Hahn-Hahn mentions 
in her "Lives of the Fathers of the Desert" (Pp. 45, 46) as 
current among both Christians and Mohammedans even at the 




NOTES. 



209 



present day : — " When the Turks took possession of Constanti- 
nople, a pious priest was saying Mass in Sancta Sophia. At the 
moment of the consecration the bearer of the evil tidings entered 
the church, and the priest prayed with great fervour, ' May 
God preserve the Holy Body of the Lord from profanation/ 
Suddenly the wall enclosed both Host and priest and (the 
belief is that) they will both re-appear unharmed on the day in 
which Constantinople shall be re-captured by the Christians." 
Even the story of the Seven Sleepers, in its literal and most 
miraculous sense, has been "defended and maintained with 
much learning by Assermani, a man of great literary reputa- 
tion," as we are told by Pope Benedict XIV. in his " Treatise on 
Heroic Virtue " (Oratorian Translation, vol. iii., p. 244), a work 
which the reader may consult with advantage on the whole 
subject of ecstacies, natural and supernatural. " So I will 
have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? " (John xxi. 



The subject of angelic operations in the powers of nature has 
been beautifully illustrated by F. Newman in a Sermon with 
which many readers will doubtless be well acquainted, and from 
which we make the following extract : — " What a number of 
beautiful and wonderful objects does Nature present on every 
side to us ! and how little we know concerning them ! In some 
indeed we see symptoms of intelligence, and we get to form some 
idea of what they are. For instance, about brute animals we 
know little, but still we see they have sense, and we understand 
that their bodily form which meets the eye is but the index, the 
outside token, of something we do not see. . . . But why do 
rivers flow ? Why does rain fall ? Why does the sun warm us ? 
And the wind, why does it blow ? Here our natural reason is at 
fault. . . . Reason tells us of no spirit abiding in what is com- 
monly called the natural world, to make it perform its ordinary 
duties. Of course, it is God's will which sustains all ; so does 
God's will enable us to move also, yet this does not hinder but, 
in one sense, we may be truly said to move ourselves ; but how 
do the wind and water, earth and fire move ? Now here Scrip- 
ture interposes, and seems to tell us that all this wonderful 



22, 23.) 



Note B. Page 39. 



o 




210 



NOTES. 



harmony is the work of Angels. Those events which we ascribe 
to chance, as the weather, or to nature, as the seasons, are duties 
done to that God who maketh His Angels to be winds, and His 
Ministers a flame of fire. For example, it was an Angel which 
gave to the pool at Bethesda its medicinal quality ; and there is 
no reason why we should doubt that other health-springs in this 
and other countries are made such by a like unseen ministry. 
The fires on Mount Sinai, the thunders and lightnings, were the 
work of Angels ; and in the Apocalypse we read of the Angels 
restraining the winds. Works of vengeance are likewise attri- 
buted to them. The fiery law of the volcanoes, which (as it 
appears) was the cause of Sodom and Gomorrah's ruin, was 
caused by the two Angels who rescued Lot. The hosts of 
Sennacherib were destroyed by an Angel, by means (it is sup- 
posed) of a suffocating wind. The pestilence in Israel, when 
David numbered the people, was the work of an Angel. The 
earthquake at the Resurrection was the work of an AngeL And 
in other parts of the Apocalypse the earth is smitten in various 
ways by Angels of vengeance. 

" Thus, as far as the Scripture communications go, we learn 
that the course of Nature, which is so wonderful, so beautiful, 
and so fearful, is effected by the ministry of these unseen beings. 
Nature is not inanimate ; its daily toil is intelligent ; its works 
are duties. ... As our souls move our bodies, be our bodies 
what they may, so there are Spiritual Intelligences which move 
those wonderful and vast portions of the natural world which 
seem to be inanimate ; and, as the gestures, speech, and expres- 
sive countenances of our friends around us enable us to hold 
intercourse with them, so in the motions of universal Nature, in 
the interchange of day and night, summer and winter, wind and 
storm, fulfilling His word, we are reminded of the blessed and 
dutiful Angels. . . . "Whenever we look abroad, we are reminded 
of those most gracious and holy Beings, the servants of the 
Holiest, who deign to minister to the heirs of salvation. Every 
breath of air, and ray of light and heat, every beautiful prospect, 
is, as it were, the skirts of their garments, the waving of the 
robes of those whose faces see God in heaven." — Parochial 
Sermons, vol. ii., Sermon xxix. 




NOTES. 



211 



Note C. Page 39. 



Cornelius 1 Lapide thus comments on Gen. xxxii. 1, 2: — 
" Duas angelorum acies vidit hie Jacob ; inde enim hie locus 
Hebraice vocatus Machanaim, quod nomen est duale, et significat 
bina castra vel binas acies : unde et urbs ibidem postea aedificata 
dicta est Machanaim. Nimirum una acies erat angeli qui erat 
custos et praeses Mesopotamia : hie cum angelis sibi subditis et 
subordinatis, quasi instructa acie, comitatus fuerat, et secure 
deduxerat Jacobum a Mesopotamia hucusque, scilicet ad con- 
finia Chananaese. Ibi occurrit ei eumque excepit angelus prseses 
Chananaeae cum sua acie angelorum sibi subditorum, ut eum 
per Chananaeam secure ad patrem perduceret, et ab Esau aliisque 
ei infensis tueretur et protegeret." 



Extract from B. Henry Suso's " Colloque Spirituel des Neuf 
Rochers : " — " Le Bienheureux vit le dernier rocher, qui e*tait si 
eleve* que l'ceil pouvait a peine y atteindre . . . il en aper9ut 
plusieurs qui faisaient leurs efforts pour y monter du huitieme 
rocher, mais presque tous y renoncaient; deux ou trois seulement 
parvenaient a s'y fixer. 

" Henri. — * Pourquoi, Seigneur, 1'aeces de ce rocher est-il si 
difficile ? Presque personne ne peut y arriver.' 

"Jesus-Christ. — ' Ce que est escarpe* et 6le\6 est necessairement 
d'un acces difl&cile. Tres-peu pers^verent jusqu'a la mort dans 
le de*tachement parfait d'eux-mdmes ; tres-peu aussi parviennent 
a cette ^l^vation. La plupart de ceux qui s'en approchent, en 
Toyant la vie de ces saints si differente de celle des autres, si 
austere, si mortifie*e, ont peur et retournent en arriere.'" — 
(Euvres da B. Henri Suso, p. 333. 



In the Life of M. Olier, the Founder of the Seminary and Com- 
munity of St Sulpice, we read that magic was systematically 



Note D. Page 106. 



Note E. Page 119. 




212 



NOTES. 



practised in his day, and that the Blessed Sacrament ofthe Altar 
was the object of the most horrible profanations. " Books on 
the diabolic art were publicly sold at the very doors of the 
church (of St Sulpice), and shortly after M. Olier entered on the 
duties of the parish, the bailie of the suburb, being in pursuit 
of three persons accused of sorcery, and mistaking one house 
for another, found an altar dedicated to the evil spirit, with 
these words inscribed upon it : Oratias tibi, Lucifer ; gratia* 
tibi, Beelzebub ; gratia* tibi, Azareel. The altar was a sort of 
travesty of that consecrated to Catholic worship ; the candles 
were black, the ornaments about it were all in keeping with its 
infernal object, and the book of prayers, as if in mockery of the 
Missal, consisted of diabolical incantations. The bailie took 
possession of the book, but the affair was not prosecuted any 
further on account of the numbers and position of those who 
were implicated."— Life of M. Olier, pp. 161, 162. 



Mother Margaret, whose spirit was wonderfully akin to that of 
Boudon, often gives utterance to the same complaint. " * Pray, 
pray ! my dear children/ she writes from Longton, 'and be 
ready to make any sacrifice to save souls and advance God's 
Church on earth. See how little He makes Himself for ungrate- 
ful man ! ' . . . Actual poverty was not much felt in this popu- 
lation, and far more distressing to her heart than any temporal 
poverty endured by creatures was that to which she beheld our 
Divine Lord subjecting Himself within His own tabernacle. 
' The wants of our God,' she writes, 'are far more visible here 
than those of His suffering members/ . . . She had not forgot- 
ten the chapel at Stoke, and was at this time begging for means 
to procure a silver ciborium for it. ' See how long, how patiently, 
the Eternal Wisdom waits,' she says, ' for His creatures to give 
Him a clean vessel in which to rest His Sacred Body, there to 
remain for the love of those who think it too much to give Him 
their left-off clothes.' . . . This was the poverty she loved best 
to relieve, the destitution whose appeals she could never resist. 
The language of her heart was ever that of David : ' Shall I 



Note F. Page 121. 




NOTES. 



213 



dwell in a house of cedar, whilst the Lord dwelleth in curtains? ' 
. . • We may say that it was her favourite charity to give to 
the Lord, and the subject of some of her most frequent ex- 
hortations to seculars. * I fear,' she says in one of her letters 
from Longton, ' the rich will be rigorously judged at the last 
day for spending so much on their bodies, and leaving our Lord 
in poverty, rags, and dirt. Protestants may well doubt of the 
Presence of our Lord with us when we show so much coldness 
towards the place where His Majesty resides. ' . . . . 

" This continued sense of God, in which faith and love had an 
equal share, explains the ardour she always manifested in all 
that regarded His worship, and the profuse munificence with 
which she adorned His sanctuary. She would have lavished 
the wealth of an empire, had she possessed it, in the decoration 
of His temple and tabernacle. ' When our Mother had to pro- 
vide anything for the Church,' said one of her earliest com- 
panions, 'it was as if she was ordering for some prince of 
boundless riches, to whom all the bills would be sent in.' This 
was undoubtedly her favourite devotion ; it far exceeded even 
her benevolence to the poor. She always impressed on her 
Religious that care for the service of God must come before 
charity to the poor, or the supply of their own necessities. 1 It 
would be better that we should want bread,' she would say, 
' than that our Lord should be neglected ; as to the poor, there 
are many to help them, but few people think of our hidden 
God.' . . . Nothing moved her so much as the least sem- 
blance of weariness and stinginess in what appertained to God's 
service ; whatever was given to Him was to be the best that 
could be given."— Life, pp. 211-13, 293-4. 



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